The host Soldotna baseball team defeated Kenai Central 10-8 on Tuesday at the Soldotna Little League fields, coming back from a 6-1 deficit after 1 1-2 innings.
The Stars move to 3-3 overall, while the Kardinals fall to 0-5.
After also defeating Homer 11-10 and 9-8 this season, Soldotna head coach Robb Quelland is happy to pick up another close win over a peninsula rival early in the season.
“We’re just trying to grow,” Quelland said. “There are so many players who haven’t been on a field in years. We have a lot of different experience levels on this team.”
The Kardinals jumped on Soldotna starter Josh Pieh for six runs in the second inning, with just one being credited as earned. Pieh walked three in the inning, but Kenai also had some big hits.
“Kenai came out strong,” Quelland said. “They always give us a tough game.”
Caleb Smith, who finished 2 for 4, had the big blow in the inning with a double that scored Simon Grenier and Brady Bostic.
Soldotna then kept clawing away at the lead, trailing 6-2 after two innings and 6-5 after three innings.
Kenai starter Gabe Smith went 3 1-3 innings, giving up six runs — three earned — on three hits. Kenai coach Luke Oliver said Smith pitched well and was only removed due to a pitch count.
“Soldotna did a good job putting the ball in play and forcing us to make plays,” Oliver said. “I know coach Quelland likes to get the ball in play and force the other team to make plays.”
Soldotna went up 7-6 after the fourth inning with Kenai reliever Simon Grenier on the hill. Grenier gave up four earned runs in an inning.
After the fifth, SoHi went up 10-6. Although his staff issued eight walks, Oliver said SoHi got some big hits when needed. Oliver said a good example was a two-RBI single by Atticus Gibson in the fifth, when Gibson patiently went the other way.
“I always tell my pitchers there’s no defense for walks,” Oliver said. “Defenses can’t do anything about that.
“Soldotna did have some big hits on us, like with Atticus.”
Kenai did cut the gap to 10-8 in the top of the sixth with a pair of runs off Andrew Pieh, who gave up those two unearned runs in three innings.
Kenai reliever Charlie Chamberlain kept the Stars off the board for 1 2-3 innings, allowing Kenai to mount a seventh-inning comeback against SoHi reliever Dylan Davidhizar.
The Kardinals had runners at second and third with two outs when Brady Bostic flew out to left field to end the game.
“We kept fighting back,” Quelland said. “This group does not give up. They are excited about the opportunity to play baseball.”
Gibson was 2 for 3 with three RBIs and a run for the Stars, while Jacob Belger scored three times and Daltyn Deborski and Andrew Pieh scored two times apiece.
The Kards also received two hits from Grenier and Gabe Smith, while Bostic added two runs and two RBIs.
Soldotna boys soccer 8, Nikiski 3
The visiting Stars improved to 3-0-1 in the Peninsula Conference and 5-1-1 overall with a Tuesday victory over the Bulldogs, now 0-3 and 0-7.
When Soldotna defeated Nikiski 4-1 on April 26, the Nikiski varsity put up a good fight against the Soldotna varsity in the first half before the Soldotna JV had success against Nikiski’s varsity in the second half.
Tuesday, the opposite happened as Soldotna’s varsity led 6-0 at half.
“I was very disappointed with that,” Nikiski coach Harrison Deveer said. “We didn’t play at all. It was almost like we didn’t show up in the first half of the game.”
In the second half, Nikiski put in three goals and Dolphin actually put his varsity back in to get the final two goals.
“We did a really good job in the first half keeping possession and putting in some goals,” Dolphin said. “We got a needed win and that’s all we were here to do.”
Trenton O’Reagan and Dennis Taylor had two goals for SoHi, while Ty Wackler, Collin Peck, Maleda Denbrock and Josh Tree added goals.
Nikiski’s goals came from Gavin White on an assist from Caileb Payne, White on an assist from Austin Stafford, and Stafford on an assist from White.
Deveer said once again James Lamping was phenomenal on defense.
Soldotna girls soccer 11, Nikiski 1
The visiting Stars moved to 6-1-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the league, while the Bulldogs fell to 0-3 and 0-8.
Soldotna coach Jimmy Love said his squad passed the ball well to open space, but something is still missing.
“I still think we’re struggling to find that inner fire,” Love said. “We only have a couple weeks to get where we need to be on that front.”
After Nikiski held SoHi off the board for 12 minutes, Rhys Cannava had a hat trick in a minute and 30 seconds. The first and third were unassisted, while the second was assisted by Liberty Miller and Grace McElroy.
SoHi closed the half with a goal from Sierra Kuntz assisted by Cannava and Lily Coon, a goal from Coon assisted by Bay Bloom, a goal by Morgan Lemm assisted by Cannava and a goal from Caylee Uribe-Koivisto.
Nikiski was able to get a penalty-kick goal to start the second half.
“Our girls played hard and the one goal was a huge victory for us,” Nikiski coach Angie Coelho said in an email.
Coelho added Serenity Freeman played defense for most of the second half and gave SoHi’s offense a run for its money. The coach said Emma Weeks was in net and had over 35 saves.
In the second half for SoHi, Bloom scored unassisted, Cannava scored from Bloom, Kuntz scored from Cannava and Lemm scored from Coon and Katharine Bramante.
Sunny Miller played in net for the Stars.
Nikiski, Seward wrestlers do unscored dual
Seward hosted an unscored dual meet with Nikiski on Tuesday. The unscored dual meets are being used to get ready for big meets at the end of the year.
The results follow:
171 — Koleman McCaughey, Nik, p. Fayzon Lawrence, 2:29; 189 — Truit McCaughey, Nik, p. Kekoa Albino, 3:57; 285 — Dylan Marcus, Sew, p. Mayaac Schmit, 1:01; 189 — Kekoa Albino, Sew, p. Johnny Ralston, 1:35; 189 — Truit McCaughey, Nik, p. Fayzon Lawrence, 1:50; 285 — Robert Isabel, Nik, p. John VanBuskirk, 2:13; 285 — Marcus Lastimosa, Sew, p. Mayaac Schmit, 1:53; 285 — Tim Goodnight, Nik, p. John VanBuskirk, 0:52.
Homer softball 11, Kenai 3
The host Mariners improved to 4-3 overall while the Kardinals dropped to 1-2 after the Tuesday, six-inning game.
Kenai took a 1-0 lead into the fourth inning, but Homer scored six in the fourth, two in the fifth and three in the sixth to take control.
Zoe Adkins went the distance for the Mariners, giving up three runs — one earned — on five hits while striking out 11 and walking one.
Caitlin Crabb gave up 11 runs for Kenai on nine hits. Crabb walked seven and struck out four.
For Homer, Haylee Owen was 3 for 4 with two runs and three RBIs and Adkins was 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Also for Homer, Ariana Davis had three runs, and Grace Godfrey and Delilah Harris had two runs apiece. Julie Guess added two RBIs.