Colony’s right-handed starter Trace Severson pitched wonderfully amid the blustery conditions Tuesday afternoon at the Soldotna baseball fields, but it wasn’t enough to stave off a last-gasp comeback by the Soldotna Stars.
Severson’s impressive effort to pitch a complete game was ruined by a walk-off RBI single by SoHi’s David Michael in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving the Stars a 6-5 Southcentral Conference victory over the Knights.
“I was waiting for a good ball to hit,” Michael said. “In that situation, you just want to put the ball in play.”
Michael finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs to lead the Stars, who outhit Colony 9 to 7 and improved to 4-3 overall, 4-0 in the conference. Colony dropped to 2-4 overall.
Michael’s first career walk-off hit in high school was set up by several key base running plays by SoHi. Down 5-4 and with one out away, Jeremy Kupferschmid reached on a single that glanced off Colony shortstop Kolten Ketchum’s glove, then advanced to second on a balk and stole third. Caleb Spence was issued a walk by Severson, and Joel Sisson had a pinch-hit bunt single that scored Kupferschmid to tie the game.
It all set up Michael to deliver the game winner on a grounder that shot through the shortstop and second base gap, bringing Spence home.
“I appreciate how the team picks each other up,” said Soldotna head coach Robb Quelland. “We’re a young team that seems like we take a lead but then fade away for an inning or two, but that doesn’t stop us in the end.”
Severson finished with the loss in the 6 1-3 inning outing, giving up five earned runs on nine hits and one walk, while striking out two.
“He did a good job, that was only his second time on the mound this year,” said Colony head coach Jordan Chadwell. “He was locating (pitches) well, he had a good approach that stuck with him well.”
“He was really consistent with his pitches,” Michael added. “I was impressed.”
SoHi reliever Austin Asp was credited with the win with two scoreless innings, giving up a single base hit. Starter Matthew Daugherty went five frames and gave up four earned runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out six.
Daugherty clamped down on Colony’s offense through three frames, but eventually begin to struggle.
“Matthew wasn’t 100 percent today, but he kept us in the game,” Quelland said. “He came out firing on all cylinders, the velocity was there, but (Severson) outpitched us. He was still going in the seventh with a lower pitch count than our guys.”
SoHi scored three runs in the first inning on RBI doubles by Spence and Michael, then in the bottom of the third, Kupferschmid took advantage of a throw to second to catch Spence stealing to score a run, putting SoHi up 4-0. Spence finished 2 for 3 with two runs scored.
However, Colony came back with two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. A two-run single by Cooper Smith tied the game at 4 apiece, then a bloop single by Ketchum put the Knights up 5-4.
Zach Satterly tried to tack on another run in the frame, but was tagged out by SoHi catcher Cody Quelland at home to end the run.
Kenai 14, Homer 4
The Kardinals had no trouble getting on base Tuesday night in Homer as they knocked out 15 hits and reached on 12 walks in a five-inning affair over the Mariners.
Paul Steffensen went 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs to lead Kenai Central, while Nick Beeson was 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs.
“It was a well balanced night,” said Kenai head coach Steve Nimcheski. “Every guy got on base, and every guy got a hit except one, and that was our pitcher.”
Zach Selinger earned the win with a complete game on the mound, giving up three earned run on four hits, three strikeouts and two walks.
Kenai improved to 7-0 in overall competition this year.