Today’s game marks the beginning of a four-game homestand for Kodiak — the last home games of the season.
Senior Tyler Hansen leads Wasilla with a .500 batting average. As a pitcher, he has not allowed a run this season.
“We are looking forward to it,” Arnold said. “I feel really good about this team that we can beat them. Our defense is really solid and it should be a fun weekend.”
Kodiak has already clinched the South Division title with a 7-1 conference record, 10-6 overall. The Bears are 6-0 against south squads— Homer, Soldotna and Kenai — and 1-1 against north squads.
Kodiak follows today’s game with a doubleheader on Friday against Wasilla (1 p.m.) and Colony (5 p.m.) and a single game on Saturday against the Knights (4 p.m.).
Colony is in second-place in the North Division.
Arnold expects his team to compete even though Kodiak has already clinched a No. 1 seed for the conference tournament that begins May 29 on the Kenai Peninsula.
“We want to compete at every pitch. We want to compete at every at bat,” Arnold said. “Those are things that will get us ready for the conference tournament.”
Kodiak is retiring pitcher Brandon Mahle’s No. 9 before Friday’s varsity game against Colony. This is the first jersey to be retired by the Kodiak High baseball team.
Mahle, a right-hander, graduated last year as the school leader in career strikeouts (117) and season strikeouts (56). He will be at the ceremony after just finishing his freshman year at Whitworth College in Washington state. Mahle walked onto the baseball team, but did not play in a game.
“He deserves recognition,” Arnold said. “He leads all of our pitchers throughout Kodiak’s history.”
Kodiak’s eight seniors — Tyler Jester, Austin Frick, Sam Kirchenschlager, Myles Wilson, Hunter Pace, Alex Pace, Aaron Polasky and Joey Mauer — will be honored before Saturday’s varsity game.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.