Drama was not in short supply Thursday evening at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai.
The Kodiak softball squad left with a 15-12 Northern Lights Conference win over Kenai Central, but not before a controversial series of plays in the bottom of the third that had both teams and umpires trying to figure out what exactly went down.
Kodiak led 10-4 entering the bottom half of the frame, but Kenai had scored five runs to close the gap to one before second baseman Emily Koziczkowski stepped up to the plate and belted an RBI single to tie it up.
Kenai catcher Alyssa Stanton was tagged out at third for the first out of the inning, but a throwing error by Kodiak allowed Koziczkowski to get to third. The confusion lies in whether or not Kenai head coach John Manley assisted Stanton or Koziczkowski at the plate. The infield umpire believed he had, and called an automatic second out to Koziczkowski for obstruction in the field of play.
Manley said he never assisted one of his baserunners but instead was helping Stanton off the ground long after she was called out.
“I never touched the girl, but the ump never saw it,” Manley explained. “It doesn’t matter, we had two good games.”
After a lengthy discussion between both sides, the umps stuck with their original call and play was resumed. Kodiak head coach Michelle Stratton said she saw it differently from Manley’s point of view.
“As a coach, you can’t enter the field of play,” said Kodiak head coach Michelle Stratton. “He was there helping his player, but it was a tough call.
“Now my players know that. You can’t enter the field of play.”
After play continued, Kardinals starting pitcher Savannah Jones reached base on a single, then scored the go-ahead run on a single by Jenna Helminski to give Kenai an 11-10 lead.
Manley praised the defensive efforts of Patricia Catacutan, Kiera Duby and Emily Koziczkowski in both Thursday games. Kenai won the opener 6-5, which King started in the pitching circle.
“The last couple of games we’ve played well,” Manley said.
Stanton led the Kards’ offense with a 3-for-4 day, including a double and three RBIs. Catacutan reached base three times as Kenai’s leadoff hitter and scored all three times, while Koziczkowski was 2 for 4 and Jones scored twice.
Jones went 1 1-3 innings as Kenai’s starter and finished with six earned runs on three hits, seven walks and two strikeouts. King went 2 2-3 innings in relief and gave up six earned runs to Kodiak on two hits, six walks and four strikeouts.
Kodiak got a lot of help from its leadoff hitter Cameron Bolen, who went 3 for 4 with a triple, a double and a three-run homer to score four times, including a walk. Bolen’s homer in the top of the second put Kodiak ahead 5-4.
Kenai began its rally in the third inning by loading the bases and scoring three times on walks that forced runs in, cutting the gap to 10-7. Stanton smacked a two-run single to cut the lead to 10-9, before Koziczkowski tied it up with her single.
After Kenai took an 11-10 lead following the 10-minute delay, the Bears eventually came back to tie the game on an RBI groundout by Sade Middleton, then took the lead for good on a run-scoring triple by Bolen, who then tacked on an insurance run on a wild pitch by King.
Homer 14, Houston 1
Three Homer pitchers combined on a no-hitter Thursday as the host Mariners defeated the Hawks in four innings.
Annali Metz pitched the first three innings, giving up an earned run but no hit. Elsie Smith then got two outs and Briana Hetrick recorded the final out without giving up a hit.
On offense, Mary Hana Bowe was 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs, Smith had two RBIs, Kaitlyn Johnson was 2 for 3 with three runs, and Rylee Doughty was 1 for 2 with two RBIs.
The Mariners are now 8-4 overall.
Homer baseball hangs on to beat Palmer
The Homer Mariners held off a late rally by Palmer to claim a 15-11 win Thursday evening in Homer.
The Mariners improve to 3-3 in the conference and overall.
Homer jumped out to a massive 11-0 lead in the first inning, but the Moose steadily clawed back a few runs in each frame to cut the gap down.
“I tried to tell the guys, just because we’re up 11 runs, it doesn’t mean we can quit playing,” said Homer head coach Rich Sonnen. “There’s still a long ways to go, and Palmer never quit, they never gave up.”
Homer held leads of 13-3 and 15-7 before the Moose scored two in the sixth inning to cut it to 15-9, then tacked on two in the seventh before running out of time.
Adam Brinster started on the mound for Homer and pitched four innings, giving up seven runs with four strikeouts. Garrett Butcher entered in relief for three innings, giving up four runs and striking out two.
Sonnen said a back injury for Brinster has held his starter back this season, but his recovery is on track for a late-season run.
“It was a little rough for him … so I knew it wasn’t going to be as sharp for him,” Sonnen said. “It was good to get him back on the mound and get some innings.”