The Soldotna baseball team notched an 11-1 victory over Kenai Central in five innings on Tuesday in Southcentral Conference play at the Soldotna Little League fields.
The Stars move to 1-0 in the league and 1-4 overall, while the Kardinals fall to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the league.
The game was tied at 1 after the first inning, but Soldotna took control in a five-run second inning highlighted by a towering, two-run home run from Jacob Boze — the first of his high school career.
Soldotna head coach Robb Quelland said Boze showed improvement during the American Legion season last summer and has continued to excel this season. Quelland said Boze hits for power, threw out three runners from his catcher’s position in one game already this season, and also adds speed to the top of the lineup along with Jeremy Kupferschmid, David Michael and Tanner Ussing.
Four Soldotna pitchers — Kupferschmid, Ussing, Trapper Thompson and Davey Belger — combined to hold the Kardinals to a hit and a run, while walking four and striking out eight.
With conference home games Thursday against Wasilla at 6 p.m., Friday against Colony at 6 p.m. and Saturday against Grace Christian at noon and 2 p.m., Quelland had the hurlers on specific pitch counts.
“The way we wanted it to happen is the way it happened,” Quelland said.
Michael went 3 for 3 with three runs and two RBIs to fire up the Soldotna offense, while Kupferschmid had two runs and Ussing added a pair of RBIs.
The Stars had seven hits as a team, but were aided by the combined eight walks issued by Kenai Central pitchers Caleb Smith, Parker Mattox and Knox Amend.
“We have to eliminate the balls and the walks,” Kenai coach Luke Oliver said. “We are giving out too many free bases and then a hit or two turns into a lot of runs.”
The game was clean defensively, with Kenai committing one error and Soldotna playing error-free.
“Our defense was fine,” Oliver said. “That’s what I tell our pitchers. You don’t have to get strikeouts. Let the defense play behind you.”
Sam Berry had the lone run for the Kardinals, while Smith had the hit and the RBI.