The Kodiak softball team defeated host Kenai Central 13-4 in six innings and 22-13 in three innings Friday, then the Bears came back with a 14-6 victory in five innings Saturday.
The first Friday game was a Northern Lights Conference game, while the second game was nonconference. Saturday’s game was conference. Kodiak is now 6-0 in the conference and 12-2 overall. The Kards are 1-5 overall.
While Friday’s second game was to get players experience, the first game had both teams going for a conference win.
Kodiak coach Tom Bolen said pitcher Cyana Medrano led his team to the victory with a complete game.
“We’re just glad to be playing softball again,” Bolen said.
The coach explained his team finished third at the Division II state tournament in 2019 and was looking forward to doing better in 2020 when the season was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, Bolen said nine of his 12 varsity players are playing high school softball for the first time, but the Bears are still having success due to a strong feeder program.
Despite the loss, Kenai coach John Manley said the game was encouraging.
“I think we’ll be OK,” Manley said. “We just need to work on some things.”
Manley said Kenai’s defense was fine. He also said Caitlin Crabb has walks down to an acceptable level.
“We were right in that game,” Manley said. “We just didn’t hit as well as we should have been able to.”
Zaharah Wilshusen and Andie Galloway were both 2 for 4, while Crabb also had a pair of hits. Hermoine Lanfear had a double, while Kyana Griskevich also added a hit.
The second Friday game was about getting players experience. Bolen put out mostly junior varisty players. Kenai only has 11 players in the program, but two players who don’t normally start got a chance to play.
“It’s good because we need more game experience pitching and hitting in this conference,” Bolen said. “That’s what we need to compete with teams like Juneau, Thunder Mountain, Sitka and Ketchikan at state.”
The Kardinals fell behind 22-4 headed into the bottom of the third inning. Kenai pushed across nine runs with two outs when the game was called due to time.
Wilshusen had a hit and scored three runs, while Crabb had two hits and two runs. Galloway and Shelby Burman also scored a pair of runs.
In Saturday’s conference game, Kodiak was the home team on the scoreboard. Kenai led 6-3 entering the bottom of the fourth, but Kodiak led 9-6 after the fourth inning and then invoked the mercy rule after the fifth inning.
“We played much better than we did Friday,” Manley said.
The coach said he is happy with Crabb’s progress. She pitched well Saturday until some walks and Kodiak’s strong bats caught up with her late in the game.
Manley said the defense was again good, led by six putouts from Wilshusen and a double play by catcher Maggie Granier. Wilshusen led the offense with a two-RBI double.
Kodiak 12, Soldotna 1, 5 innings;
Kodiak 15, Soldotna 3, 4 innings
The visiting Bears swept the Stars on Thursday.
Soldotna coach Kelli Knoebel said in a text message that Leslie Spear pitched extremely well for Kodiak. The coach added Kodiak’s bats were solid throughout the doubleheader.
In the first game, Knoebel said Kodiak’s pitching was dominant, with SoHi’s only hit coming from Makynzi Deborski. Lexi Stormo had the RBI for the Stars, scoring Brook Fischer, who had originally reached on a walk.
“Pitching was a struggle for us,” Knoebel wrote. “Miah Mead took the loss, with Harley Thomas coming in for a few batters, then Miah going back in and responding after a rough start.”
In the second game, the Stars got a little bit more going at the plate. Bailey Conner was 1 for 1 with a walk and RBI, Fischer had an RBI and Katie Hinz was 1 for 1 with an RBI.