Soldotna’s Jeremy Kupferschmid releases a pitch during a 6-4 loss to the Colony Knights on Friday, April 27, 2018, at Wasilla HIgh School. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Soldotna’s Jeremy Kupferschmid releases a pitch during a 6-4 loss to the Colony Knights on Friday, April 27, 2018, at Wasilla HIgh School. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Baseball roundup: Homer gets 1st win; SoHi, Kenai drop contests

  • By Jeremiah Bartz
  • Saturday, April 28, 2018 12:19am
  • Sports

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show the proper Kenai Central players scoring runs. The Clarion regrets the error.

The Soldotna baseball team lost a pair of Southcentral Conference games on the road over the weekend, falling to Colony 6-4 on Friday and Wasilla 10-7 on Saturday.

The Stars fall to 1-2-1 overall and 0-2 in the league. Soldotna had also tied a nonconference game with Wasilla on Thursday during the trip.

“In all three games, there was no quit in them,” Soldotna coach Robb Quelland said. “This is a mature team and group, we’ve just got to piece together more hits.”

Saturday, Wasilla’s six-run lead late in the game may have appeared comfortable. But the Soldotna Stars made things interesting.

“We just saw the two teams in the conference that went to state last season,” Quelland said. “We dropped a couple conference games, but we have a lot more games to play.”

Soldotna scored three times during the final inning and had the go-ahead run at the plate, but the Warriors held on to grab a 10-7 Southcentral Conference victory over the Stars on Saturday afternoon at Wasilla High School.

As the Stars stood with two outs, the bases loaded and a man at the plate, Wasilla caught a base runner off the bag to get the final out and the victory. Quelland, who was coaching third, said the play was his mistake. Quelland thought the count was full and told the runner to go home after a ball, but in fact that ball had made the count 3-2.

“It’s high school baseball. Anything can happen,” Wasilla head coach Ken Ottinger said after the win.

But Ottinger was certainly thankful for a few insurance runs Wasilla picked up after taking the lead with its six-run third inning. The Warriors scored two in both the fourth and the sixth.

“Anytime you can tack on more runs, I’m going to,” Ottinger said. “Those were big runs definitely.”

The Warriors took a 10-4 lead into the seventh. The Stars tagged the Wasilla bullpen with two hits, two walks and three runs in the inning. Soldotna also had a player hit with a pitch and another reach on an error.

“It’s still early in the season. There’s a lot of learning,” Ottinger said.

Cody Quelland used a lead-off double to spark Soldotna’s attempt at the rally. David Michael followed by reaching on an error, and Quelland scored to cut Wasilla’s lead to 10-5. Brandon Crowder was hit by a pitch, and with one out, both Michaels and Crowder scored on a Logan Smith single.

With two outs, the bases loaded and Jeremy Kupferschmid at the plate, Wasilla was able to catch a SoHi base runner between third and home to grab the final out.

“I’d rather win ugly than lose beautiful,” Ottinger said.

Wasilla senior James Arend cashed in with the bases loaded during his team’s big third inning. With the Warriors trailing 3-0, Arend used a bases-clearing triple to tie the score at 3. Later in the inning, Arend scored on a Soldotna error to give the 4-3 lead. Taylon Ottinger also added a run-scoring single in the third.

Soldotna initially took a lead with three runs in the top of the second.

Arend led Wasilla with two hits and three RBI. Jacob Gilbert drove in two runs. Clayton Boyett, Kyle Graham and Ben Werner each scored twice.

Kupferschmid and Hunter Thompson drove in two runs each for SoHi. Quelland and Crowder had two hits and two runs each.

Friday, Colony jumped out to a quick start, but the Knights had to hold on.

Colony reliever Trace Severson allowed only a hit and no runs over the final 2 2-3 innings to help the Knights cement a 6-4 Southcentral Conference victory over Soldotna Friday afternoon at Wasilla High School.

“Trace stepped in and threw great,” Colony head coach Jordan Chadwell said after the victory. “He’s been clutch since he was a freshman, and has been getting better and better.”

With the Knights leading 6-4, Severson forced, arguably, a game-saving double play in the top of the fifth inning. Earlier in the inning, Soldotna had tagged Colony starting pitcher Kolten Ketchum for a pair of runs to cut Colony’s lead in half. With Severson on the mound and Ketchum in the infield, Ketchum fielded a sharp grounder at shortstop and started the inning-ending double play.

“It was a huge,” Chadwell said of the play. “Soldotna’s a good team.”

In temperatures that stayed in the low 40s throughout the game, Ketchum pitched into the fifth.

“He pitched great,” Chadwell said. “He was really, really good for us.”

Cooper Smith and Zach Satterly each drove in a pair of runs to help Colony improve to 2-0. Severson and Ketchum scored two runs each. Colony scored three times in each of the first two innings, and took a 6-1 lead into the third.

“We started off strong,” Chadwell said. “That made a huge difference.”

Satterly gave Colony the early lead, using a single to drive in Severson and Ketchum. Smith scored to give Colony the 3-0 lead on a Kaden Ketchum single late in the first inning.

In the second, Smith pushed Colony’s lead to 5-0 with a single that drove in Severson and Joe Ryan. Jeremy Allen also had an RBI single in the inning.

Caleb Spence put Soldotna on the scoreboard in the top of the second, with an RBI single. Hunter Thompson scored on the play. In the third, Cody Quelland doubled and scored on a Brandon Crowder single.

The Quelland-Crowder combo added another run in the fifth for the Stars, with Quelland scoring from second on a Crowder single. Logan Smith drove in Crowder to cut Colony’s lead to 6-4.

Crowder, Thompson and Smith collected two hits each for SoHi.

Wasilla 12, Kenai 2

Wasilla used a five-run first to score a 12-2 Southcentral Conference win over the Kenai Kardinals on Friday evening at Wasilla High. Kenai is 0-2 in the league and overall.

Balau Buckmaster and Jacob Gilbert each finished with three RBI for the Warriors. Buckmaster, Kyle Graham and James Arend scored two runs each.

Caleb Smith finished with Kenai’s lone hit in the game. Knox Amend and Andrew Carver had the runs for Kenai.

Homer 2, Service 1; West 1, Homer 0

The Mariners split a doubleheader in Anchorage to move to 1-3 on the season.

The second game featured a baseball rarity, with Douglas Dean and Joe Ravin combining on a no-hitter for Homer, but still coming up on the wrong end of a 1-0 score. The West pitcher had a perfect game until the fifth inning, when Ravin beat out an infield single for Homer’s lone hit of the game.

“It was quite the pitchers’ battle today,” Homer coach Rich Sonnen said.

Dean gave up an unearned run in the first inning, pitching three innings and striking out two. Ravin also pitched three innings and struck out one.

Earlier, Homer’s pitching and defense had also been solid in a 2-1 victory over Service.

“The plus for the weekend is our pitching is looking good and our defense is looking solid,” Sonnen said. “We have to keep hoping for the bats to come around.”

Against Service, Adam Brinster pitched four innings and gave up a hit while striking out two. Harrison Metz gave up an unearned run in two innings, yielding a hit while striking out one. Seth Adkins did not give up a hit in an inning, striking out one.

The Mariners were down 1-0 after six innings, but Ravin singled to score two. Spencer Warren went 2 for 2 for the Mariners.

Sonnen added Douglas Dean did a good job behind the plate filling in for the injured starting catcher.

Grace Christian 3, Homer 1

The visiting Mariners fell to the Grizzlies in Southcentral Conference action. Homer fell to 0-1 in the conference and 0-2 overall.

“Against SoHi we found out we can’t hit the fastball,” Homer coach Rich Sonnen said. “Tonight, we found out we can’t hit the curveball. I don’t know what we are going to do.”

Actually, Sonnen does know what the Mariners will do. They will see some more live pitching and improve on Friday’s total of four hits.

“They got better as the game went on and by the end of tomorrow I’m hoping we’re up to speed for the season,” Sonnen said.

On the mound, sophomore Mose Hayes was great for Homer, going six innings and giving up two hits while striking out six. One of his three runs was earned.

Sonnen said the pitching and defense were sharp, but Homer’s starting catcher was out with a hand injury so the backup had some passed balls that led to runs.

On offense, Douglas Dean, Adam Brinster, Spencer Warren and Harrison Metz had the hits.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at

Soldotna’s Cade Applehans slides underneath the tag of Wasilla infielder Clayton Boyett during a 10-7 loss to the Warriors on Saturday at Wasilla High School. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Soldotna’s Cade Applehans slides underneath the tag of Wasilla infielder Clayton Boyett during a 10-7 loss to the Warriors on Saturday at Wasilla High School. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

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