SoHi baseball takes 2nd at Southcentral tourney, Kenai earns state berth

The Soldotna baseball team defeated Kenai Central 11-3 Saturday at Redington Jr./Sr. High School for second place in the Southcentral Conference tournament.

No. 2 seed SoHi (14-4 overall) had previously earned a Division II state berth. By advancing to the second-place game, the No. 3 seed Kardinals (11-8) earned their first state tourney berth since 2012.

“Looking forward to state and being able to compete outside of our region,” Kenai coach Luke Oliver wrote in a text message.

The Stars jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings, but Kenai had things tied at 3 after the top of the fourth. The Stars then scored one in the fourth, one in the fifth and six in the sixth.

Derrick Jones pitched the first four innings for SoHi, giving up three runs on two hits while walking four. Trenton Ohnemus sparkled in relief, going three scoreless and hitless innings while walking one and striking out five.

Braden Smith pitched the first four innings for Kenai, giving up four runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out three. Simon Grenier gave up a run in an inning, Brady Bostic gave up five runs, and Logan Mese pitched a scoreless inning for Kenai.

“Owen Whicker had a big hit for us against SoHi, but we had some mental errors that let the score get away from us,” Oliver wrote.

At the plate for SoHi, Jacob Belger was 2 for 4 with two runs, Levi Mickelson was 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs, Andrew Pieh was 2 for 4, Gavin Jones was 2 for 4 and Riley Johnson was 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs.

Kenai 14, Grace Christian 2

The Kardinals earned a berth to state by topping the Grizzlies at Redington and moving on to the second-place game. Charlie Chamberlain went 2 for 3 in the contest.

Southcentral Conference awards

MVP — Landon Guggenmos, Palmer.

Coach of the year — Ken Gibson, Soldotna.

First team — Landon Guggenmos, Palmer; Riley Johnson, Soldotna; Brandon Hina, Houston; Atticus Gibson, Soldotna; Hunter Williams, Kodiak; Johnny Brinner, Kenai; Jacob Belger, Soldotna; Colton Reger, Grace; Mylan Johnson, Homer; Gabe Jamie, Palmer.

Second team — Landon Kitzman, Palmer; Gabe Smith, Kenai; Logan Seymore, Redington; Cole Taylor, Houston; Dubber Kennedy, Redington; Charlie Chamberlain, Kenai; Alex Holland, Kodiak; Andrew Pieh, Soldotna; Laddy Elliot, Grace; Jonathon Gregoire, Homer; Derrick Jones, Soldotna.

Honorable mention — Jacob Banker, Grace; Ezra Hurst, Grace; Eric Preboski, Houston; Carter Seime, Houston; Malachi Raymond, Homer; Zach Marley, Homer; Dylan Garrettson, Palmer; John Gosh, Redington; Gavin Jones, Soldotna; Ky Gibbs, Grace.

Good sport team — Cameron Tutle, Grace; Joey Bowman, Houston; Gabe Dash, Homer; Simon Grenier, Kenai; Christian Rockenbach, Kodiak; Conner VanAusdal, Palmer; John Gosh, Redington; Riley Johnson, Soldotna.

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