Kenai, Soldotna baseball advance to NLC semis

The Kenai Central and Soldotna baseball teams advanced to the semifinals of the Northern Lights Conference tournament Thursday in Kodiak.

Soldotna (15-3 overall), the No. 1 seed out of the Southern Division, advanced to a 6 p.m. Friday semifinal against Houston, which is No. 2 out of the north, by defeating Grace, No. 4 out of the north, 14-0.

Houston advanced with an 8-5 victory over Homer (7-9), No. 3 out of the South.

Kenai (10-3), No. 2 out of the south, defeated Redington, No. 3 from the north, 9-1. The Kardinals get Kodiak, No. 4 from the south, at 3 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. Kodiak topped Palmer, No. 1 from the north, 4-0 on Thursday.

Kenai and Soldotna can earn automatic Division II state berths by winning the semifinals and advancing to Saturday’s 3 p.m. championship.

There are plenty of other ways to get to state. The third-place winner at the NLC tourney also gets an automatic berth. After that, there are three more at-large berths available to state.

Homer will look to stay alive for a third-place finish when it faces Grace at noon Friday. The Mariners would then have to win twice on Saturday to take third place. If Kenai or Soldotna takes a semifinal loss, those two squads also would have to win twice Saturday to take third.

Kenai 9, Redington 1

The Kardinals got past the Huskies in seven innings in the first round.

Jacob Joanis went the distance for Kenai, giving up just one run on one hit while walking four and striking out nine.

Gabe Smith led the Kards at the plate, going 3 for 3 with two runs and three RBIs. Jacob Joanis was 3 for 4, while Zane Pellegrom had a triple and Jackson Marion had a pair of RBIs.

Soldotna 14, Grace 0

Brenden Theel twirled a no-hitter as the Stars needed just five innings to advance out of the first round.

Theel walked two and struck out eight.

Derrick Jones was 2 for 3 with two runs and three RBIs for the Stars, while Matthew Schilling had two runs and three RBIs, Wyatt Gagnon had two RBIs, Levi Mickelson had two runs, Trenton Ohnemus had two runs, and Easton Hawkins had three runs and two RBIs.

Houston 8, Homer 5

The Hawks scored four runs in the top of the eighth inning to get past the Mariners in the first round.

The game was close the whole way, tied at 2 after two innings, at 3 after five and at 4 after six.

Homer had a run in the bottom of the eighth, but it was not enough.

Jayden Sims was 2 for 4 with two runs for the Mariners, while Clyde Clemens was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, and Preston Stanislaw was 2 for 4.

Camden Wise pitched the first four innings for Homer, giving up two runs — one earned — on five hits. Sims gave up two runs on a hit in 1 2-3 innings, while Stanislaw gave up three runs on a hit in 1 1-3 innings, and Weston Marley gave up a run on two hits in an inning.

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