The top-seeded Soldotna baseball team qualified for the Division II state tournament and earned a spot in the Southcentral Conference championship game with an 11-1 victory over No. 4 Kodiak on Thursday at Redington Jr./Sr. High School.
The Stars (13-3 overall) got a dominant day of pitching. After Dylan Davidhizer pitched a five-inning no-hitter in a 15-0 victory over Redington in the opening round, Riley Johnson gave up just one earned run on two hits in six innings of work against the Bears. Johnson walked two and struck out four.
Soldotna, which will be making its second straight appearance at state, will face No. 2 seed Palmer today at 7 p.m. at Redington for the conference title. Palmer won the conference championship last year. The Stars own a pair of 4-2 victories over the Moose this season.
The loser of the championship game must face the survivor of the second-place bracket at 1 p.m. Saturday for second place. Both teams in that second-place game have state berths.
At the plate for the Stars against the Bears, Jacob Belger had two runs, Levi Mickelson had two runs and two RBIs, Atticus Gibson was 3 for 3 with four RBIs, Andrew Pieh was 2 for 3 with two runs, Evan Appelhans had two runs and Derrick Jones had two runs.
Palmer 3, Kenai 0
The No. 3 seed Kardinals (9-7 overall) narrowly missed wrapping up their first state tournament berth since 2012.
“Had some opportunities but couldn’t get a clutch hit,” Kenai coach Luke Oliver said in a text message.
Johnny Brinner pitched 3 2-3 scoreless innings for Kenai, giving up three hits while striking out three. Gabe Smith pitched 1 1-3 innings, giving up three hits and two earned runs.
Charlie Chamberlain, Xander Amend, Braden Smith, Brady Bostic and Owen Whicker all went 1 for 3 at the plate.
The Kardinals fall into the second-place bracket and will face the Redington-Houston winner at 3 p.m. today at Houston. The winner of that game plays at 10 a.m. Saturday at Redington for a spot in the second-place game.
Kenai 10, Homer 0
The Kardinals, the No. 3 seed, toppled the Mariners, the No. 6 seed, in the opening round at Houston.
Homer (3-10 overall) plays Grace Christian today at 10 a.m. at Redington to try and stay alive in the second-place bracket. The winner plays Kodiak at 3 p.m. at Redington, then the winner of that game plays at 10 a.m. Saturday for a spot in the second-place game.
Braden Smith shut Homer down over 5 1-3 innings, allowing no runs, no hits and no walks while striking out six. Charlie Chamberlain got the final two outs, giving up a hit and recording a strikeout.
At the plate for Kenai, Johnny Brinner was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, Brady Bostic was 2 for 4 with two runs, Gabe Smith had two RBIs, Simon Grenier was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, Braden Smith was 2 for 3, Logan Mese had two runs and Owen Whicker had two runs and two RBIs.
For Homer, Henry Wedvick gave up seven runs — three earned — in 4 1-3 innings, while Camden Wise gave up three unearned runs in 1 1-3 innings.
Oak Anderson had the hit for Homer.
Soldotna 15, Redington 0
The Stars, the top seed, set down the No. 8 Huskies in five innings at Redington, getting a no-hitter from Davidhizer on the mound.
Davidhizer went all five innings, walking two and striking out eight.
At the plate for SoHi, Levi Mickelson was 2 for 3 with two runs, Gavin Jones was 2 for 3 with three runs and two RBIs, Atticus Gibson was 3 for 3 with three runs, Sage Cruz scored two runs and Derrick Jones had three RBIs.