The conditions made Mark Putney’s debut as Homer’s head coach a memorable one, but for all the wrong reasons.
Behind a pitching gem from Jakob Arnold and a three-hit performance from Austin Frick, Kodiak handed Homer a 17-0 four-inning Southcentral Conference loss Friday at a rain-soaked Baranof Field.
“I would have liked to have a little better game. That doesn’t seem quite right,” Putney said. “It is definitely good to be back.”
Putney wasn’t on the losing end of the Baranof scoreboard much during his time in Kodiak.
Putney starred on the pitching staff of the 2004 undefeated championship team and graduated in 2006 with 12 career wins and 115 strikeouts. He later went on to play for NCAA Division II George Fox University (Ore.) and after graduating he landed a teaching job at Homer High. He has been on the Mariners’ staff since 2012 and inherited the team from former coach Larry Kuhns this season.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Putney said. “We have a great group of guys who work hard. So far they have been a real pleasure to coach.”
Putney’s team was one-hit by Arnold, who ended Kodiak’s three-game losing skid with his second victory in three tries this season.
Arnold walked none and struck out four. The only hit he gave up was when Homer leadoff hitter J.J. Sonnen legged out an infield single on a high bouncer back to the mound.
“The weather conditions are always going to be tough in Kodiak,” Kodiak coach James Arnold said. “I was happy how everybody had good energy and how they got behind the pitcher. Jake did a great job on the mound due do the conditions.”
On a day when hand warmers and jackets were necessary, Jakob Arnold kept warm between innings by nestling next to a propane heater inside Kodiak’s third-base dugout. He got an extended stay by the heater when Kodiak sent 16 batters to the plate in an 11-run second inning.
Frick supplied the power in the second with a pair of run-scoring doubles. Aaron Polasky also roped a double that plated two runs, while Joey Mauer laced a single that scored one.
Eight of Kodiak’s nine players scored in the second.
“It felt like forever,” Jakob Arnold said. “Getting back out there I just wanted to throw strikes and get back on the bench.”
He said it was challenging to keep the ball in the strike zone as 30 mph winds played havoc on his pitches, while the never-ending rain made it difficult to grip the ball. He did hit three batters, but only one base runner reached third base.
“I threw a cutter to one hitter and it went down the middle and then it went as a wild pitch way outside. The ball moved a lot,” Jakob Arnold said.
Kodiak grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first when Jon LeVan and Jakob Arnold walked with the bases loaded.
The Bears led 13-0 after the second and added four more in the third — two coming on a double by Sam Kirchenschlager.
The umpires called the game in the bottom of the fourth.
Putney was impressed with how Kodiak’s junior hurler handled the conditions, but was even more impressed that the game was played.
Kodiak didn’t have an artificial turf field when Putney played.
“We wouldn’t have played probably because the field would have never allowed it,” he said.
Kodiak beat Homer 10-5 Saturday in another game played in the rain.
LeVan, Sam Bennett, and Hunter Pace combined to no-hit the Mariners.
Homer scratched out five runs on 10 walks and four Kodiak errors.
Sam Kirchenschlager drove in a pair on two hits. His triple in the first plated Myles Wilson that opened the scoring.
LeVan drove in three with a single in the first, a sacrifice fly in the third and a bases loaded walk in the fourth.
Branden Pickett drilled a two-run single in Kodiak’s six-run fourth inning. The junior catcher also threw out three base runners.
LeVan earned his second win of the season with nine strikeouts and six walks in five innings.
Kodiak (2-0 conference, 5-4 overall) plays Wednesday at Houston.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.
BEARS 17, MARINERS 0
Homer 000 0 — 0 1 3
Kodiak 2(11)4 x — 17 7 1
Jette, Johnson (2) and Bowe; Arnold and Chya.
RBI: Kodiak — Frick 2, Kirchenschlager 2, LeVan 1, Arnold 1, Polasky 2, Mauer 1. Doubles: Kodiak — Frick 2, Polasky 1. Three hits: Kodiak — Frick. Two hits: Kodiak — Mauer.
Winning pitcher — Arnold (Struck out four, walked none). Losing pitcher — Jette (Struck out two, walked nine).
JV — Kodiak 26, Homer 3. Aaron Hocum had four hits and drove in six runs for Kodiak.
BEARS 10, MARINERS 5
Homer 000 112 1 — 5 0 1
Kodiak 202 600 x — 10 7 4
Donich, Hutt (4) and Bowe; LeVan, Bennett (6), H. Pace (6) and Pickett.
RBI: Kodiak — Frick 1, 2, LeVan 3, Arnold 1, Pickett 2. Triple: Kodiak — Kirchenschlager. Two hits: Kodiak — Kirchenschlager.
Winning pitcher — LeVan (Struck out nine, walked six). Losing pitcher — Donich (Struck out one, walked seven).
JV — Kodiak 16, Homer 5. Morgan Moir had four hits and drove in five runs for Kodiak.