The visiting Kenai Central baseball team defeated Colony 12-3 in nine innings Saturday in Southcentral Conference action for the first win over the Knights in program history.
Gavin Petterson was the hero of the breakthrough, pitching all nine innings to record the win. He gave up just one earned run on five hits while striking out five and walking two.
He threw just 96 pitches in getting through the game.
And it all almost never happened. Kenai head coach John Kennedy was ejected from the junior varsity game, meaning he watched the varsity game from a motorhome in the parking lot.
“I’m just sitting back there watching and I couldn’t give my 2 cents worth,” Kennedy said after his team moved to 3-4. “I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I would pull him,’ then he would get through the next inning in five pitches. It was an incredible effort.”
Kennedy also said the defense did a good job of backing Petterson up.
Kenai had 14 hits in the game, and finally broke through for nine runs in the ninth to win the game.
At the plate for Kenai, Paul Steffensen was 2 for 5 with three runs, three RBIs, a double and a home run; Jakeb O’Brien was 2 for 6; Petterson was 3 for 5 with a double and four RBIs; Connor Jones was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI; Taylor Landry was 2 for 5; Steven Norvelle was 2 for 5 with two RBIs; and Levi Mese had a double.
Wasilla 7, Soldotna 3
The Warriors prevailed in a battle of unbeatens Saturday in Wasilla, as the previously 4-0 Stars fell to the now 9-0 Warriors.
Playing their fourth game in five days, the Stars pitched ace Joey Becher, who went four innings of eight-hit ball, giving up five earned runs while walking four and striking out five.
Wasilla presented their best pitcher in Nolan Monaghan, who went 5 1-3 innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits. Monaghan struck out nine SoHi batters.
“We went up against one of the best pitchers in the state and got hits, but they weren’t timely,” said Soldotna coach Robb Quelland. “We didn’t come through when we needed to.”
Calvin Hills and Hunter Thompson both pitched an inning of relief for SoHi. Hills walked one batter but gave up no hits or runs, while Thompson struck out one in his scoreless inning.
Wasilla outhit Soldotna 8-6. Cody Quelland led the Stars with a 3-for-3 day at the plate, while David Michael-Varsi, Kolten Wilson and Terrance Slats each knocked out a hit.
Wasilla scored two runs in the second and third innings each, then added one in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a 7-0 lead. SoHi clawed back with three runs in the top of the sixth, but could do no more.
“They’re a very balanced team,” Quelland said. “I remember in years past, we were not competitive and it was easy for them to throw their second or third pitcher at us, but I think it’s a sign of respect that they pitched their ace.”
SoHi will face Homer on the road Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Palmer 12, Homer 6
The visiting Mariners dropped to 3-3 in the Southcentral Conference and 3-4 overall with the loss.
Homer had 13 hits to Palmer’s eight, but it was the Moose coming up with the clutch plays on offense and defense.
“We had 13 hits and had 15 guys left on base,” Homer coach Rich Sonnen said. “We left the bases loaded twice.”
Michael Swoboda was 3 for 3 with a solo home run to lead off the game. Adam Brinster was 2 for 3, Garrett Butcher was 2 for 4, Kyle Johnson was 2 for 3, Joe Ravin was 2 for 5, and Landon Bunting and Woape Huffman each had a hit.
Greg Smith got the start and went two innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits while walking two and striking out three.
Garrett Butcher pitched the last four innings, giving up six runs — two earned — on two hits while walking three, hitting three and striking out four.
“We were able to hit their pitcher, but our defense made errors and they made plays when they had to,” Sonnen said.
Soldotna 14, Colony 7
The visiting Stars moved to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the Southcentral Conference by holding off the Knights on Friday.
Mathew Daugherty had a solid start for the Stars, going five innings and giving up one hit and two runs — one earned — while walking four and striking out five.
“He’s just a horse,” Soldotna coach Robb Quelland said. “He doesn’t get disturbed or riled up by a lively crowd, and the crowd in the Valley was lively as always.”
SoHi led 9-0 after three innings before Quelland said the team lost focus and let Colony back in the game.
The coach said the pitching was solid, but the defense, in spite of spectacular plays from shortstop Calvin Hills, slipped.
On the mound, Kenny Griffin gave up three earned runs in an inning, while Quelland gave up an earned run in an inning.
At the plate, Hills had fours runs and two RBIs, Quelland was 3 for 3 with three RBIs, Griffin had two RBIs, Joey Becher had three RBIs, Kolten Wilson had two runs, Caleb Spence had three runs and Terrance Slats had two runs and two RBIs.
Homer 13, Houston 2, 5 inn.
The visiting Mariners moved to 3-2 in the Southcentral Conference and 3-3 overall with the Friday victory.
Freshman Seth Adkins pitched all five innings for the Mariners, giving up the two earned runs on two hits while striking out six.
“It was great pitching, then our defense had their first error-free game,” Homer coach Rich Sonnen said. “That makes it nice for us coaches sitting in the dugout when the guys aren’t making errors.”
At the plate, Landon Bunting was 2 for 3, Garrett Butcher was 2 for 4 with three RBIs, Greg Smith was 1 for 3 with three RBIs, and Michael Swoboda and Adam Brinster were 1 for 3.
Wasilla 16, Kenai 6, 6 inn.
The host Warriors dropped the Kardinals to 2-4 overall in the Southcentral Conference.
Gavin Petterson had two doubles and four RBIs to lead Kenai at the plate, while Jakeb O’Brien and Paul Steffensen added hits.