The pitching and defense of the Soldotna baseball team kept shining as the Stars defeated Houston 9-2 in Southcentral Conference action Thursday at the Soldotna Little League fields.
Tuesday, SoHi hurlers Caleb Spence and Mathew Daugherty combined on a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory against Homer.
It didn’t take long for another no-no to be wiped off the board Thursday — Houston’s Kolby Taylor singled to lead off the game en route to a 2-for-3 day — but SoHi’s three pitchers were again dominant. The Stars also turned in an errorless performance.
“I had to pull the starter just because I needed innings for the other guys,” SoHi coach Robb Quelland said after moving to 6-1 in the league and 7-1 overall. “That’s the way they’re going right now.
“I have confidence in most, if not all, of the whole pitching staff to go the whole game and keep us in the game.”
Cody Quelland worked the first four innings for the win, giving up four hits and two earned runs while walking one and striking out two.
Hunter Thompson then worked two hitless and scoreless innings of relief, walking one and striking out two. Calvin Hills punched out a pair of batters in constructing a perfect seventh inning.
Cody Quelland, who scored three runs, did not want to spend much time talking about his team’s pitching and defense after the game.
He was more concerned about SoHi’s offense, which registered five hits after being held to the one run against Homer.
“Everyone is going great but that’s not what is important to us,” Cody Quelland said of the pitchers. “What’s important to us is what we haven’t done on offense the last two games.
“We have to pick it up.”
The Stars got to Houston starter Jaden Elson for seven earned runs in 1 1-3 innings, with Elson walking nine and giving up three hits.
Houston coach Scott Ruta, whose team made five errors in the game, said defensive mistakes forced Elson to throw more pitches than he needed to, leading to the rough outing.
With the score at 7-0 after two innings, the mercy rule was looking like a distinct possibility for the winless Hawks.
Ruta, who has a young team of sophomores and juniors, said getting in full games is important to his learning squad.
So when Jaykob Elliott came in and pitched the last 4 2-3 innings, giving up two hits and two runs — one earned — while walking two and striking out six, it gave the Hawks a huge boost.
Like catchers Sam Reed and Wyatt Creswell, Elliott attends Redington Sr. Jr/Sr High School.
“The pitchers and catchers were huge,” said Ruta, who got a hit and a run each from Elliott and Kade Taylor. “It could have gotten ugly.”
Coach Quelland said the Stars were fooled by Elliott’s slower pitches.
“It’s when we get eager and stop being patient,” Cody Quelland said. “In the first two innings, we were patient, and that’s when we scored all the runs.”
Kenny Griffin was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI for the Stars, while Kolten Wilson had two runs and Brandon Crowder had a pair of RBIs.