The Nos. 2 and 3 seeds went down in the first round Thursday as chaos reigned at the Southcentral Conference baseball tournament in Homer.
“You cannot write this up,” Soldotna coach Robb Quelland said. “If this was the NCAA tournament, your bracket would be busted.”
No. 2 seed Homer lost to No. 7 Palmer 4-2 in eight innings and No. 3 Wasilla, and defending conference champ, lost to No. 6 Grace Christian 3-2.
On the bottom of the bracket, No. 1 Kodiak defeated No. 9 Houston 10-6. Houston got into that game by defeating No. 8 Kenai 5-4 in nine innings. Also, No. 4 Colony topped No. 5 Soldotna 17-5 in five innings.
In the second-place bracket, Homer ended Kenai’s season with 12-0 game that went five innings.
Today, Palmer and Grace, and Kodiak and Colony, face off in semifinals at 1 p.m., followed by the title game at 7 p.m.
In the playback bracket, Homer plays Wasilla, and SoHi plays Houston, at 10 a.m. At 4 p.m., the Homer-Wasilla winner plays the Kodiak-Colony loser, and the SoHi-Houston winner plays the Palmer-Grace loser.
Homer 12, Kenai 0, 5 innings
The No. 2 Mariners kept their season alive and ended No. 8Kenai’s season as Douglas Dean and Harrison Metz combined on a no-hitter.
Dean pitched 4 2-3 innings, whiffing two and walking one. He was lifted at 50 pitches so he can pitch Saturday, if needed. Harrison Metz got the last out.
At the plate, Adam Brinster was 3 for 4, Metz was 2 for 2, Mose Hayes was 2 for 3, Joe Ravin had a double, and Spencer Warren, Adam Bunting and Dean added hits.
“Obviously, that was not the way we wanted to end it,” Kenai coach Luke Oliver said. “At the same time, the majority of the teams end on a loss.
“I’m hoping the young players return next year and we continue to build on what we built this year.”
Colony 17, Soldotna 5, 5 innings
The No. 4 Knights scored eight runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to cruise past the No. 5 Stars.
“We just came out flat,” Soldotna coach Robb Quelland said. “We had good practices all week. We felt we had the right guy on the mound.
“We live and die by our top four, and they ended up producing one hit between all of them.”
Jeremy Kupferschmid gave up 13 runs — nine earned in the first three innings. Cody Quelland then gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning.
At the plate, Kupferschmid, Logan Smith, Tanner Ussing, Jake Marcuson and Trapper Thompson had hits, while Hunter Thompson scored two runs.
Palmer 4, Homer 2, 8 innings
The No. 4 seed Moose rode the arm of Luke Guggenmos in knocking off the No. 2 seed Mariners at Homer High School.
“We didn’t really get the bats going,” Homer coach Rich Sonnen said.
Guggenmos worked the first 7 1-3 innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs while walking five and striking out five. Skyler Hale was perfect in getting the last two outs for Palmer, striking out one.
Despite struggling on offense, Homer’s pitching and defense was up to the task for seven innings. Adam Brinster pitched seven innings and let the two winnings runs get on base in the eighth. Brinster gave up six hits and four runs while walking two and striking out six. Joe Ravin got the final three outs, but allowed two inherited runners to score.
“Adam was solid on the mound for us and the defense played well,” Sonnen said.
Seth Adkins, Ravin, Spencer Warren, Douglas Dean and Mose Hayes had the hits for Homer.
Houston 5, Kenai 4, 9 innings
The No. 9 seed Hawks avenged a regular-season loss to the Kardinals at Homer High School.
“I told the players afterward I’m never happy to lose but I’m happy with the way we played,” Kenai coach Luke Oliver said. “If I remember right, we never took the lead, but we just kept fighting back.
“Even in the last inning, we were down two. We got one back and had the tying run on third, but we couldn’t get him in.”
Oliver said the pitching and defense was solid. Harold Ochea went 8 2-3 innings, giving up five runs — four earned — while striking out 10. Caleb Smith got the last out for the Kardinals.
One of the biggest turning points in the game came in the bottom of the seventh inning after the Kardinals had tied the game up and had the winning run on third with one out.
Houston brought in a fresh pitcher, so Oliver thought the time was right to steal home on the first pitch and win the game. But the new pitcher threw a perfect strike and the runner was tagged out.
“If it was a high pitch or in the dirt, we win the game,” Oliver said. “It just didn’t happen to go in our favor. It was my call.”