Homer baseball goes to Kenai, returns with win

KENAI — The Homer baseball team got five runs from batters who had reached on walks in defeating Kenai Central 10-8 on Tuesday in Southcentral Conference action at the Kenai Little League fields.

The Mariners move to 2-1 in the league and 2-2 overall. 

“The freebies that scored, that’s what hurt us today,” Kenai coach John Kennedy said.

While walks, liners and grounders would eventually decide the game, it didn’t start off that way.

After Homer went 1-2-3 in the first, Kenai leadoff hitter Paul Steffensen greeted Homer starter Garrett Butcher with a towering blast over the fence in right center in an impressive display of opposite-field power. Jakeb O’Brien, Connor Jones and Sam Combs also would score as Homer had two errors in the inning.

“It looked like we were in for a rough day,” Homer coach Rich Sonnen said. “It was (Butcher’s) first time on the mound this season and we wanted to get him some innings. He was able to settle in.”

Butcher would pitch six innings, giving up eight runs — six earned — on eight hits, while striking out three and walking three.

The Mariners also went down in order in the top of the second, bringing up the bottom of the order in the third inning.

Joe Ravin, who would walk in all four of his plate appearances and score twice, started the three-run rally in the third with a walk.

Kenai starter Gavin Petterson gave up just three hits and struck out four in 3 1-3 innings, but yielded six runs — four earned — after walking six.

“He was good,” Sonnen said of Petterson. “He threw harder than anyone we’ve seen this season, although we’ve only played a few games.

“He shut us down the first few innings, then we got more patient.”

In addition to the work of No. 7 hitter Ravin, No. 5 hitter Woape Huffman was 2 for 3 with three runs, No. 6 hitter Butcher had a double and a run and No. 8 hitter Seth Adkins was 2 for 3 with a run and four RBIs.

“I’m very happy with the bottom of the order,” Sonnen said. “The bottom of the order was hitting line drives and ground balls, while the top of the order was hitting fly balls.”

Greg Smith slammed the door for the Mariners in the seventh inning. The catcher, who just started pitching this season, struck out the side with a series of low, hard fastballs.

“That’s exactly what we wanted to get from him,” Sonnen said.

Also for Homer, Kyle Johnson finished 3 for 5 with a run and two RBIs.

Jeff Helminiak is the sports editor for the Peninsula Clarion.