Southcentral Conference baseball: Kodiak tops Palmer for title; Kenai defeats SoHi for 3rd

Both Kenai, Soldotna get spots in Division II state tourney

The Kodiak baseball team won the Southcentral Conference title with a 14-4 victory in five innings over Palmer on Saturday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai. The Moose had won the title last year.

Both Palmer and Kodiak earned automatic berths to the Division II state tournament by making the final.

Kenai Central (11-6 overall) earned the conference’s third automatic state berth by toppling Soldotna 14-1 in five innings in the third-place game at the Kenai Little League fields.

Soldotna, the defending Division II state champion, was awarded an at-large berth to state Sunday due to a 12-8 overall record.

In the third-place game, the Kardinals scored in each of the five innings to take care of the Stars. Kenai led 4-1 after two and 12-1 after four.

Owen Whicker had three RBIs for the Kards, while Daniel Steffensen was 2 for 4, Braden Smith had two runs, Charlie Chamberlain was 2 for 3 with three runs, Kalani Beddow was 3 for 4 with two runs and four RBIs, Gabe Joanis was 2 for 3 with two runs and three RBIs, Everett Chamberlain had two runs, and Jayden Sandahl was 2 for 3 with two runs.

Beddow went the distance on the bump, giving up a run on eight hits while walking three and striking out three.

The Kardinals were able to hit Derrick Jones and Andrew Pieh. Jones gave up 10 runs — nine earned — on 10 hits while walking two and striking out two. Pieh gave up four runs — three earned — on four hits while walking three and striking out one.

Easton Hawkins was 2 for 2 for the Stars.

The Kardinals had reached the third-place game with a 13-2 victory over Homer (3-11) in five innings Saturday morning.

Kenai led 9-0 after the first inning and 13-0 after the second inning by jumping on Homer pitchers Mylan Johnson and Clyde Clemons.

That was more than enough for Braden Smith, who went the distance on the hill for the Kards. Smith gave up two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out six.

At the plate, Whicker had two RBIs, Steffensen had two runs, Smith was 2 for 3, Charlie Chamberlain was 2 for 3, Everett Chamberlain had two runs, Avery Martin had two runs, and Jayden Sandahl had two runs.

Brock Barth was 2 for 2 for the Mariners, while Camden Wise had two runs.

Soldotna defeated Houston 10-7 on Saturday morning to make the third-place game.

The Hawks grabbed a 4-2 lead in the top of the third, but SoHi led 6-4 by the end of the fourth and 7-5 by the end of the fifth.

Houston tied it at 7 in the top of the sixth, but SoHi scored three times in the bottom of the inning.

Jayden Stuyvesant and Wyatt Gagnon were both 2 for 3 for Soldotna, while Matthew Schilling had two RBIs.

Easton Hawkins pitched the first 5 1-3 innings for SoHi, giving up seven runs — six earned — on seven hits while walking two and striking out seven.

Levi Mickelson pitched the final 1 2-3 innings for the win, giving up no runs on a hit while walking one and striking out two.

Kenai Central opens up play at Division II state at Wasilla High School against Monroe Catholic at 10 a.m. The two squads have not played this season.

Soldotna plays Palmer at 6 p.m. There have only been two Division II baseball tournaments, and Palmer won in 2021 while the Stars won in 2022. The teams split this season.

All-Conference awards

MVP — Hunter Williams, Kodiak.

Coach of the Year — Jason Fox, Kodiak.

First team — Gabriel Wheeler, Palmer; Andrew Pieh, Soldotna; Malakai Olson, Kodiak; Charlie Chamberlain, Kenai; Trenton Ohnemus, Soldotna; Derrick Jones, Soldotna; Landon Kitzman, Palmer; Braden Smith, Kenai; Colton Reger, Grace.

Second team — Cole Taylor, Houston; Jayden Sandahl, Kenai; Dubber Kennedy, Redington; CJ Burns, Homer; Mylan Johnson, Homer; Tyler Christiansen, Kodiak; Hunter Finch, Grace Christian; Owen Whicker, Kenai; Brody Mocan, Palmer; Chad Landon, Palmer; Levi Mickelson, Soldotna; Conner Vanausdal, Palmer.

Good sport team — Dmitri Katelnikoff, Kodiak; Landon Boland, Palmer; Ikiaki Flores, Redington; Daniel Steffensen, Kenai; Mylan Johnson, Homer; Jayden Garcia, Houston; Sage Cruz, Soldotna; Joshua Fricke, Grace.

Division II state baseball tournament

Thursday’s games

Game 1 — North Pole vs. Houston, 3:30 p.m.

Game 2 — Palmer vs. Soldotna, 6 p.m.

Game 3 — Kodiak vs. Petersburg, 12:30 p.m.

Game 4 — Monroe Catholic vs. Kenai, 10 a.m.

Friday’s games

Game 5 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 6 — Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 3:30 p.m.

Game 7 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 12:30 p.m.

Game 8 — Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 10 a.m.

Saturday’s games

4th/6th place — Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 10 a.m.

3rd/5th place — Game 5 loser vs. Game 6 loser, 12:30 p.m.

Championship — Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 3 p.m.