The host Homer baseball team defeated Soldotna 6-2 on Monday to tighten up the race for the second seed in the Southcentral Conference Southern Division.
Soldotna’s loss means Kenai Central, at 7-2 in league, clinches the top seed. The Kards finish up their regular season by traveling to play the Stars on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Soldotna is now 4-3 in the league and 5-6 overall, while Kodiak and Homer stand at 4-4. SoHi plays at Kodiak on Thursday and Friday, while Homer plays Colony on Friday and Wasilla on Saturday.
“We’ve got a tough weekend ahead of us with Colony and Wasilla,” Homer coach Rich Sonnen said. “But it’s never easy traveling down to Kodiak. It’s going to be interesting.”
Adam Brinster and Joe Ravin combined to slow down Soldotna’s high-scoring offense. Brinster went the first six innings, giving up four hits and an earned run while striking out five and walking two. Ravin pitched the last inning, giving up a hit and a run while walking one and fanning two.
“They had to work hard because Soldotna definitely has a good hitting team,” Sonnen said. “They hit the ball hard.”
The coach said SoHi’s Cody Quelland had a couple of rockets in finishing 3 for 3. But he added that Homer was able to chase down three or four long fly balls to center field to keep the Stars at bay.
Meanwhile, Homer was able to chip away at Soldotna.
“For us in this game, the biggest difference is we had guys putting the ball in play on the ground,” Sonnen said. “We talked about putting the ball on the ground and making them catch two.
“SoHi made a few errors and we were able to beat a few ground balls out.”
Caleb Spence took the loss for the Stars, going an inning and giving up three earned runs on three hits. Logan Smith gave up three earned runs in an inning of relief, while David Michael held the Mariners scoreless over the last four innings.
Doug Dean finished 2 for 3 with two runs to lead Homer, while Adam Brinster was 2 for 3. Joel Sisson had a hit and an RBI for Soldotna.