The Soldotna baseball team defeated Kenai Central 11-1 in five innings Monday in nonconference action at the Soldotna Little League fields.
The Stars move to 5-4-1 overall, while the Kardinals drop to 0-7.
Soldotna’s pitchers were dominant once again. Logan Smith went the first four innings, giving up a hit and a run while walking two and striking out four. Brandon Crowder finished with a scoreless and hitless inning, walking three and striking out one.
Soldotna coach Robb Quelland said the Stars used the game to tune up for the conference tournament, getting some players time in different spots to prepare for things like injury. The coach said he was also able to keep his pitchers fresh with some key games coming at the end of the week.
Nick Wehrstein had the lone hit for Kenai, knocking in Sam Berry in the second inning.
“I felt like going through the game, we didn’t strike out as much and we were putting the ball in play better,” Kenai coach Luke Oliver said. “When hitters start making adjustments and hit it squarely but at someone, those will be base hits eventually.”
Knox Amend pitched the first two innings for the Kards, giving up six runs — two earned — on two hits while walking five and fanning one. Harold Ochea pitched 1 2-3 innings, giving up five runs on five hits while walking four and whiffing two. Manny Noriega got the last out by facing just one batter.
Oliver was happy his team was able to cut down on errors and walks. The Kards had two costly errors in the first inning, but were clean after that. Freshman Caleb Smith made a pair of dazzling plays at shortstop for Kenai.
“I like how the team responded after the Palmer loss,” Oliver said. “I appreciate the effort. They were diving all over the place.”
Caleb Spence was 2 for 3 with three runs for Soldotna, while Crowder had a hit and two runs, and David Michael had a hit and two RBIs. Smith, Hunter Thompson and Butch Slats also had hits for the Stars.