The Soldotna Stars opened the prep baseball season with a 10-6 victory over Homer on Saturday afternoon in Soldotna.
SoHi senior Joey Becher hit 3 for 3 with three RBIs and a pair of runs, then closed out the seven-inning game on the mound with four strikeouts and three runs on one hit given up in the final two frames.
Senior Calvin Hills showed off his speed with four stolen bases, and blasted a double on 3-for-4 hitting and scored three runs. Becher added three stolen bases and a double as well. Overall, the Stars racked up 12 hits.
“They were hitting well, and we got it done,” said SoHi coach Robb Quelland.
Senior catcher Kenny Griffin earned the win with 2 2-3 innings of scoreless ball, relieving Calvin Hills with one out in the third inning and giving up three hits while striking out one. The SoHi pitching staff combined to give up just five hits.
After scoring three runs in the first inning to take the early lead, Soldotna fizzled in the top of the third when Homer had three of their first four baserunners score. James Webber started the inning by reaching base on an error, then Landon Bunting nailed a hit and Michael Swoboda got on with a walk.
From there, all three Homer runs scored by error or by walks.
Kyle Johnson hit 2 for 3 and Woape Huffman notched a three-RBI double to lead the Mariners.
However, Soldotna retook the lead with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Hills walked to juice the bases, and Griffin knocked in a run with a single that scored Crowder. From there, Becher and Colten Wilson both walked with the bases still loaded to score two more.
Soldotna added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth and one in the sixth.
Kenai topples Kodiak
The visiting Kenai Central baseball team started off its season with a pair of Southcentral Conference victories in Kodiak.
The Kardinals defeated the Bears 9-2 on Friday and 12-9 on Saturday.
“I’m really excited to come in and, not knowing exactly how we’ll do, come in and win two over here,” Kardinals coach John Kennedy said.
Friday, the Kards got solid pitching performances from Gavin Petterson and Conner Jones. Pettersen held the Bears scoreless and hitless for three innings, walking two and striking out four. In four innings, Jones gave up two runs — one earned — on five hits while walking four and striking out two.
“One cool thing about (Friday) is they had a lot of guys on base, but we didn’t panic and got outs when we needed to,” Kennedy said.
At the plate, Paul Steffensen was 1 for 3 with two runs and an RBI, Levi Mese had two RBIs, Conner Jones was 2 for 4 with two runs, Sam Combs had three runs, and Ryan Johnson had two runs and two RBIs.
Saturday, Kenai trailed 9-3 after four innings but came back for the win. The teams entered the seventh tied at 9, but Steffensen scored two with a hit, then Kenai tacked on another insurance run.
Kennedy said the key to the victory was patience and getting into Kodiak’s bullpen.
Steffensen got the start and yielded seven runs — five earned — in 2 1-3 innings, but then pitchers Taylor Landry, Jakeb O’Brien, Jacob Keels and Petterson all pitched less than two innings but kept the Kards in the game.
Kenai had just three hits in the game, with Steffensen going 2 for 3 with two runs and four RBIs. Petterson added a pair of RBIs.
“We did a lot today with very few hits,” Kennedy said.