SoHi baseball closes strong against Homer

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna pitcher Hunter Thompson delivers home against Homer on Thursday at the Soldotna Little League fields.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna pitcher Hunter Thompson delivers home against Homer on Thursday at the Soldotna Little League fields.

A piercing outfield wind kept the bats alive Thursday at the Soldotna Little League fields, but when it came down to crunch time, Soldotna senior right hander Calvin Hills braved the hitting and the winds to seal up another victory.

Hills closed with a strong 2 2-3 innings of relief pitching to send SoHi to a 14-7 Southcentral Conference victory over Homer. The win kept alive SoHi’s undefeated season at 4-0 overall, all wins against Homer and Kenai. The Mariners dropped to 2-2 in the conference and 2-3 overall.

On a day when the Mariners and Stars combined for 21 runs and 18 hits — six by Homer and 12 by Soldotna — the task of keeping a team in check from the mound was daunting.

“(The wind) put a lot of break on the ball, but a little too much break, so I couldn’t really throw a breaking ball,” Hills said. “I just had to throw a fastball.”

Hills struck out two while giving up one hit in relief. In each of the final two frames, the Homer offense went down in order, thanks to a few stellar fielding plays. Junior second baseman Terrance Slats ended the game with a slick turnaround throw to first baseman Kenny Griffin for the last out.

“I knew I could trust my defense,” Hills said. “They got the outs we needed.”

The cold wind that blew in from the backstop contributed to two booming home runs that cleared the center field wall. The second of the two came courtesy of SoHi catcher Kenny Griffin, who took the ball on a ride in the bottom of the fourth inning to break open a close game. The two-run homer left the Stars leading 8-5.

After Homer closed the lead back up to 9-7 in the top of the fifth, SoHi responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning to open the gap once more, starting with a RBI ground-rule double by Joey Becher. The pitching ace ended up hitting 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles and two RBI.

“It was a good team win,” said Soldotna coach Robb Quelland. “With the cast of characters we have playing on this team, we’re going to have to play team baseball. We’re hitting pretty much one through nine.”

Quelland said the team leans on Hills as a reliable relief pitcher.

“He was stellar,” he said. “They need a confident pitcher to come in and shut it down.”

Homer led early with a 3-0 lead by the top of the third frame. Woape Huffman scored on an error and Michael Swoboda launched a two-out RBI double to center field in the top of the second, then Garrett Butcher tacked on a two-out home run that cleared the center field fence in the third.

Finally, after two scoreless frames, the Soldotna offense got going with five runs to take the lead. A fielders choice hit by Kenny Griffin brought in two runs and an RBI single by Becher tied the game. Kolton Wilson batted in the go-ahead run on an error that scored Becher, which put SoHi ahead 4-3. Mason Prior capped the inning with a double to center field that scored Wilson.

The Mariners tied the game at 5-all in the top of the fourth, starting with an RBI double by Swoboda and a single by Greg Smith on the first pitch of the game by SoHi’s Brandon Crowder. Swoboda led Homer with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, all doubles, and four RBI.

In the bottom of the inning, Cody Quelland brought in the go-ahead run for good with a hit to Homer shortstop Seth Adkins, who fumbled the throw for the error. That was quickly followed by Griffin’s homer.

Quelland started on the mound and went two innings, giving up two hits.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Homer's Michael Swoboda beats out a double in front of the tag of Soldotna second baseman Terrance Slats on Thursday at the Soldotna Little League fields.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Homer’s Michael Swoboda beats out a double in front of the tag of Soldotna second baseman Terrance Slats on Thursday at the Soldotna Little League fields.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Homer's Garrett Butcher celebrates a home run with Michael Swoboda in front of Joe Ravin (12) on Thursday in a game against Soldotna at the Soldotna Little League fields.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Homer’s Garrett Butcher celebrates a home run with Michael Swoboda in front of Joe Ravin (12) on Thursday in a game against Soldotna at the Soldotna Little League fields.

More in Sports

Nikiski's Rylee Ellis attacks against Soldotna's Ashlee Anderson on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Volleyball roundup: SoHi, Kenai pull out wins

Staff report Host Soldotna celebrated its senior night with a 3-1 nonconference… Continue reading

Brock Wilson and Brayden Taylor lead Soldotna onto Justin Maile Field for a Division II semifinal against North Pole on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi football to play for 9th straight state title

Eight straight state titles, and 12 since 2006. An 18-game postseason winning… Continue reading

MJ Hendren pictured kayaking at Hidden Lake next to a large rock exposure. (Photo provided)
Refuge Notebook: Geology of the Kenai … it rocks!

One thing that never ceases to amaze me about living in Alaska… Continue reading

The pedicure in question has seen many miles of hiking and walking since it was first painted on five months ago. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)
Tangled Up in Blue: A perfect pedicure

There is just the smallest sliver of light pink nail polish left… Continue reading

Olympic gold medalist Lydia Jacoby waves to the crowd in Seward during her celebratory parade on Thursday, August 5, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Jacoby nabs 2 2nds at World Cup

Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old senior at Seward High School, finished second in… Continue reading

Kenai's Jason Parks, running on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Kenai, Alaska, wins the Kenai River Marathon on Sept. 28, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Parks takes 38th in Chicago Marathon

Kenai’s Jason Parks took 38th overall, 36th among men and 11th in… Continue reading

tease
Volleyball roundup: Kenai leads area at Grizzly Invite

The Kenai Central volleyball team led the Kenai Peninsula with a fourth… Continue reading

The Kenai Central High School women’s cross country team finishes in second place with 58 points at Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Boonstra repeats as Division II champ

By CAMILLE BOTELLO Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central’s Jayna Boonstra raced her way… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Wade James rushes the ball against Redington on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, at Redington High School. (Photo by Tim Rockey/Frontiersman)
Redington rolls past Kenai Central

The Redington Huskies punched their first ever ticket to the Division III… Continue reading

Most Read