If it was scored on aggregate, the Soldotna and Kodiak baseball squads would come out even over the course of the week, but Kodiak had the last laugh Saturday with a 6-5 nonconference victory over SoHi at the Soldotna Little League fields.
The loss dropped SoHi to 2-3-1 overall, and 1-2 in the conference.
It was the second one-run game between the two sides in three days. In a Thursday contest over Kodiak, the Stars won 3-2 on the back of Logan Smith, who pitched a one-hitter against the Bears.
Saturday, SoHi trailed 6-3 entering the bottom of the seventh and plated two runs on a fielder’s choice and Bears error to cut the gap to one, but couldn’t finish the job on a bunt that recorded the third out.
Soldotna head coach Robb Quelland said with the status of the game not counting towards region tournament seeding, it presented a prime opportunity for SoHi to experiment with situational hitting and pitching.
“We have so few conference games, we have to use this as basic training plays,” Quelland said. “We did things as we normally wouldn’t do in conference games that have total value, we worked on bunts, squeeze bunts, rundowns … we got to play those things out.
“We got the chance to let players who don’t generally start get some experience. These are trial and error games.”
Jake Marcuson gave up one earned run on two hits and two walks in 2 2-3 innings of work, and whiffed two. Brandon Crowder took the loss, however, in relief by giving up an earned run on two walks and two hits. Jeremy Kupferschmid gave up a run on three hits in a frame of relief and Caleb Spence closed out the last two innings of scoreless ball with two strikeouts and two hits.
David Michael provided a spark on offense by hitting 2 for 4 with two RBI on a double. Cody Quelland also raked in a double.
The big killer for SoHi proved to be the 12 men the Stars left stranded, including a no-outs, bases-loaded opportunity that SoHi squandered with no runs scored.
“Ridiculous,” Quelland said. “That’s been kind of our thing, we talk about timely hitting, and we had a bases-loaded with no outs and couldn’t bring a run in.”
Kodiak did its damage in the fourth and fifth innings, plating two runs apiece in each frame to grab a 6-3 lead. Kodiak’s Josh Smith belted a homer as well.
SoHi answered a Kodiak run in the first inning with a run of its own in the bottom of the frame, then did it again in the third to forge a 2-all tie.
Eventually, the Bears took the lead for good in the top of the fourth with two runs. Seth Rochenbach got the win on the mound with three innings of work, giving up two earned on four hits and four walks and four strikeouts.
Homer 9, Palmer 7
The visiting Mariners notched a Southcentral Conference win Saturday by getting out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh.
Homer was up 9-6 in the bottom of the seventh when the Moose loaded the bases with one away. A grounder to short made it 9-7, then a walk loaded the bases again, but Homer pitcher Mose Hayes was able to record a strikeout to end the game.
Adam Brinster started for Homer and lasted three innings, giving up four runs — two earned — on two hits while striking out four. Hayes finished with four innings, giving up three runs on two hits while striking out four.
“We had some pretty solid pitching, but this Palmer team has some guys that can hit, for sure,” Homer coach Rich Sonnen said.
But Homer was up to the task of doing some hitting of its own. Seth Adkins was 2 for 2, Brinster was 2 for 3, Spencer Warren was 2 for 4, Landon Bunting was 1 for 3 and Joe Ravin was 1 for 4.
Homer 11, Houston 2
The visiting Mariners continued to display suffocating pitching and defense in notching a Southcentral Conference victory over the Hawks.
Homer is now 2-1 in the league and 3-3 overall.
Harrison Metz starred on the mound for the Mariners, going five innings and giving up two earned runs and eight hits while striking out three and walking two. Seth Adkins finished up with two scoreless innings, giving up a hit and striking out three.
“I just hope we keep maintaining it,” Homer coach Rich Sonnen said of the solid pitching and defense. “We’re still making mistakes. There is still room to improve.”
Homer’s bat have also gotten going lately, and they got going just in time Friday. The Hawks were up 2-1 after five innings, but the Mariners scratched across two runs in the sixth and then put things out of reach with eight runs in the seventh.
When the dust settled, Homer had a season-high 13 hits.
On offense for Homer, Joe Ravin had two hits, Adkins was 2 for 3, Adam Brinster had two hits, Metz, Hunter Warren and Mose Hayes had hits, Spencer Warren was 2 for 4 and Landon Bunting was 2 for 3.