During a pair of regular season starts against Soldotna this season, Palmer standout pitcher Landon Guggenmos was tagged with a couple of tough luck losses.
SoHi beat Palmer 4-2 each time earlier this spring.
But Guggenmos and the Moose had another shot at the Stars, in the biggest game of the season so far. Guggenmos pitched a complete game one-hitter and led Palmer to a 5-1 win over Soldotna during the Southcentral Conference title game Friday night at Redington Jr./Sr. High School in Wasilla.
“Straight up domination. It’s what I expected from here,” Palmer head coach Dave Combs said of the right-hander after the win. “One hit against a really good hitting team.”
Combs said Guggenmos was ready for this one.
“He wanted this game really bad,” Combs said.
Guggenmos fanned 13 SoHi hitters, and capped the win by striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh. Combs said it’s the best he’s seen Guggenmos pitch in at least two years.
“He really pitched instead of just throw. We’ve been working on that all season,” Combs said.
Guggenmos finished with 104 total pitches, 67 for strikes.
“He was getting ahead, and he threw everything,” Combs said. “When he gets ahead, he can throw all of his pitches.”
Gavin Jones collected the lone hit for Soldotna, a single in the bottom of the fourth. Jones later scored on a Dylan Davidhizer ground out.
“They’re the best team we’ve played all season in our division,” Combs said. “I expect to see them in state.”
Palmer, the defending Division II state champs, earn an automatic bid the the 2022 DII state tourney, which starts June 2 in Wasilla. SoHi is kicked to the consolation side of the bracket, and will play in the second-place game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Redington against the Kenai Central-Grace Christian winner. The Stars have also punched their state tourney ticket.
Soldotna was the top seed entering the tourney, and Palmer was seeded second.
Soldotna’s Atticus Gibson also pitched a complete game, scattering 10 hits and three earned runs over seven innings. He fanned five and didn’t walk a batter.
Kenai 17, Redington 2
The Kardinals rolled past the Huskies in the second place bracket in a game at Houston.
Kenai coach Luke Oliver said his team pitched by committee, and Owen Whicker led the offense by going 2 for 2 with three RBIs.
The Kardinals play Grace at 10 a.m. at Redington for an automatic berth to state and a spot in the second place game at 1 p.m. at Redington.
Grace Christian 15, Homer 3
The Mariners, the No. 6 seed, were eliminated from the tournament by the Grizzlies, the No. 7 seed, early Friday in the second-place bracket at Redington in a game that went six innings.
The Grizzlies jumped to a 7-0 lead after the top of the fourth and the Mariners were not able to recover.
Malachi Raymond, Gabe Dash, Mylan Johnson and Camden Wise all saw time on the mound and had trouble holding down the Grace bats.
Jonathon Gregoire, Zach Marley, Oak Anderson and Garrett Briscoe had the hits for Homer, while Raymond, Anderson and Briscoe had the runs.