Nearly four hours after Kodiak’s season ended, the Bears watched Juneau-Douglas celebrate its first small-school state championship softball title.
Kodiak finished fourth at the small-school state championships Saturday at Cartee Fields in Anchorage.
Kodiak coach Sam Catt said he had no regrets about his team not playing in the final high school game of the season.
“It is important for the girls to stay there and watch. Some of the teams leave, but that is not my style,” Catt said. “I like to stay. You get the whole experience and watch the teams that are performing well, and it shows them what they need to do to be there.”
The Bears went 1-2 and registered their first win at state since the 2009 team finished third with a 2-2 mark.
Kodiak lost to Ketchikan, 9-1, and beat Hutchison, 10-0, on Friday and then was knocked out of the tournament with a 13-5 loss to Northern Lights Conference rival Homer on Saturday. Homer finished third, while Ketchikan lost to Juneau in the “if necessary” championship game.
“Of course I’m proud of them for finishing fourth,” Catt said. “I think we fell a little short of our ability. We didn’t play well, but that happens.”
Kodiak, the Northern Lights Conference champions, finished its season with a 10-10 record.
As the NLC champions, the Bears received an opening-round bye into the winners’ bracket semifinal game.
Ketchikan, after disposing of North Pole, put Kodiak in an early hole by scoring seven runs in the first inning on five walks, four hits and two hit batters.
The Kings were up 8-0 before the Bears finally hit the scoreboard in the fourth inning.
Senior second baseman Kassidy Ellison roped a double and scored on a fielders’ choice. That ended up being Kodiak’s only run of the game.
Ellison had Kodiak’s only other hit — a single in the first.
Ketchikan pounded out six hits, which included a home run in the fifth, and received seven walks from Kodiak pitcher Kaia Yatsik. The Bears also committed three errors.
The loss sent Kodiak to the consolation bracket, where it stayed alive with a 10-0 thumping of Fairbanks-based Hutchison.
Kalameli Matautia scored three runs and was a double away from hitting for the cycle. The sophomore ripped a two-run double in Kodiak’s three-run first inning. She hit a single in the third and finished with a triple in the Bears’ four-run fifth inning.
Dannika Catt blistered a two-run single in the second, while Kristina Stobinski drove in two on a bases-loaded single in the fifth. Sydney Hosier finished the scoring in the fifth with a two-run double.
Stobinski and Hosier each had two hits, while Tiana Timu and Celeste Chichenoff each drove in a run.
Hutchison only produced four hits in six innings off of Yatsik. The hurler struck out five and walked one in Kodiak’s first state victory since beating Monroe Catholic, 9-3, in 2009.
“The girls played great in that game,” Catt said. “Kaia came out pitching great and the girls were hitting the ball. It was kind of a flawless game for us. It was a great game and a great win for us.”
Kodiak advanced to play Homer, a team the Bears beat three out of four times in the regular season. The Mariners opened with solo runs in the first and second and then scored two runs each in the fourth, fifth and sixth that put them up 8-0 lead.
Kodiak cut the lead in half in its sixth. The Bears’ first three hitters — Ellison, Catt and Matautia — all reached on singles and scored on a Chichenoff triple. Hosier followed with a single that brought home Chichenoff.
Homer responded in the seventh with five runs that increased the lead to 13-4.
Catt added an RBI single in the seventh for Kodiak.
Matautia had three singles in the game, while Timu had two singles. Homer had 15 hits off of Yatsik, who struck out five and walked three.
“I’m never surprised with Homer,” Catt said. “They are well coached and they always come to play. I felt very fortunate that we took three out of four from them. It didn’t surprise me at all that they were ready to rock and roll today a little bit more than we were.”
Chichenoff was the only Kodiak player to be voted onto the all-tournament team. She battled a sore left Achilles tendon during the two days and had to be moved from shortstop to first base in the final game against Homer.
“She could barely move side-to-side, but she did well,” Catt said.
Kodiak received the team sportsmanship award. Ellison, Matautia and Dannika Catt all earned player of the game honors.
Kodiak said goodbye to seniors Ellison, Hosier, Yatsik, Stobinski, Timu, Samantha Heglin and Josephine Seward after the Homer game.
“With just a little bit better play we could have been right there. We could have been in the three spot,” Catt said. “It was really a fine line between the way we played and what we needed to do.”
Contact Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.
Homer 17, Hutchison 1
Ketchikan 27, North Pole 0
Winners’ bracket semifinals
Juneau-Douglas 15, Homer 0
Ketchikan 9, Kodiak 1
Kodiak 10, Hutchison 0
Homer 8, North Pole 3
Winners’ bracket final
Ketchikan 4, Juneau 3
Homer 13, Kodiak 5
Juneau 13, Homer 5
Juneau 10, Ketchikan 4
Juneau 9, Ketchikan 4