The No. 3 and No.4 hitters in the lineup emerged this season for the Solon baseball team.
And it’s no surprise to either of them.
Senior Logan Linderbaum and brother Tyler Linderbaum, a freshman, have occupied those two spots in the batting order this summer.
Logan, in his fourth season on varsity, is hitting at a .383 clip for the Spartans with nine doubles, 17 RBI and a .565 on-base percentage. His walk-to-strikeout ratio is 15-6. Tyler is hitting .302 with nine RBI and has a .413 on-base percentage. Both players flip-flop between first base and designated hitter.
“I thought Tyler would play, but as much as he’s contributing now, it’s a great thing to see happen,” Logan Linderbaum said. “He’s hit third or fourth all year. That’s impressive. It’s been a lot of fun. Being my last year and having him be a part of it is really cool.”
“We didn’t want to put too much on Tyler’s plate right away, not knowing how he would respond to being in the upper half of the order,” Solon coach Keith McSweeney added. “Logan is the natural cleanup guy, but with his brother coming on and consistently driving the ball and racking up RBIs, it’s been a no-brainer.”
Despite having a young team this season — there are six freshmen on the roster — Solon (15-12) could be primed for a run as the stretch portion of the schedule is set to begin.
The Spartans have won five out of their last six games, including a doubleheader sweep over WAMAC foe Clear Creek Amana last week.
McSweeney lauded the elder Linderbaum in aiding the development of the underclassman.
“No question Logan was a primary returning leader on the team,” McSweeney said. “This is his fourth year as a starter, so all that experience is paying off. The game has really slowed down for him. His approach, especially at the plate just understanding the game and not getting too wrapped up in one at-bat, has been the biggest difference over the years.”
Close growing up — whether it was throwing the baseball or football in the backyard, or playing 1-on-1 basketball — Tyler Linderbaum noted the team’s willingness to lean on his brother.
“He’s definitely been a role model for me,” Tyler Linderbaum said of Logan. “If I have a question about something, he helps me just as much as other guys or even the coaches do. He’s been playing varsity since freshman year, so he knows what’s going on. The younger guys listen.”
Solon is hitting .289 as a team and has a 3.68 team ERA.
The largest win streak this season is three for McSweeney’s club, and that’s happened twice: once in early June and now, following the last three victories over Vinton-Shellsburg and Anamosa (2).
With 11 games remaining, Logan and Tyler Linderbaum and Co. are perhaps peaking at the right time.
“We’ve struggled with consistency, especially on the mound,” McSweeney said. “If we can settle in there like I believe we can, we’re capable of making a run. You don’t have to beat everybody. You just have to beat the teams in front of you.”
Reach Matt Cozzi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-887-5409, and follow him on Twitter at @matt_cozzi.