The Soldotna baseball team struck early but had to hold off a determined Houston squad Thursday to claim a 14-8 win in nonconference action.
SoHi streaked out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and 7-0 after two, but the Hawks responded by plating five runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth to tie the game at 8-all. It took a four-run inning at the top of the sixth for SoHi to win.
The Stars (2-0 overall) clamped down early on defense, as starting pitcher Caleb Spence gave up one unearned run in three frames, allowing a single hit and two walks while striking out three. Logan Smith came on for SoHi in the top of the fourth, but gave up seven runs, three earned, in two innings of relief. Houston’s bats woke up in against Smith with five base hits.
“It was a true test of their ability,” said SoHi coach Robb Quelland. “They had a game that almost slipped through their fingers, but they rebounded and pulled through.”
Spence sparkled at the plate as well, hitting 4 for 5 with three RBIs to lead SoHi. Jake Marcuson also knocked in three runs. At the end of the day, the Stars outhit the Hawks 7 to 6.
SoHi left nine men on base, and suffered six errors in a sloppy defensive performance, although Houston wasn’t without its trouble as well, committing four errors.
Kendall Ruta took the loss on the mound for Houston, giving up a pair of walks that eventually scored off his reliever. Jayden Elson started the day for Houston, but SoHi forced him out after 1 1-3 innings. Elson gave up seven runs, three earned, on three hits and six walks.
Tanner Ussing earned the win on the mound by closing out the final two frames with shutout ball, giving up one walk and striking out four.
Soldotna will face off with Wasilla today at 6 p.m. in a Southcentral Conference title game rematch from last year. Wasilla won that game 5-0.