Kodiak High School’s softball team was supposed to open the 2020 season today by hosting the Emerald Isle Invitational at Baranof Field.
The season has been washed out because of COVID-19, and with no softball on tap, it is a good time to flashback to the first home game in program history. That took place May 19, 1993 — a season after the Bears debuted on the diamond — against Juneau-Douglas at East Addition Park.
Juneau hosted Kodiak in 1992 and took all seven games in the Capital City. Those were the Bears’ only games of their inaugural season.
“I think it’s going to be more nervewracking,” sophomore pitcher Casey Taylor told the Daily Mirror leading up to the game. “I like playing road games.”
Catcher Debbie Rohrer, now the activities director at Kodiak High, had a different take on the program’s first home game.
“I think it’s better. Not as many people here will steal home on me,” she told the Daily Mirror in 1993. “Here, we’re used to the field we’re playing on. I know the ball won’t bounce all over when it goes to the backstop.”
The game was billed as a pitchers’ duel between Juneau’s Amy McLoud and Taylor.
The two hurlers did there part, stringing zeros on the scoreboard. The game was tied at 2 after six innings.
Juneau got to Taylor in the seventh, stinging the right-hander for three runs on three hits to solidify a 5-2 victory.
“We were getting people on base,” Juneau head coach Kari Monagle told the Mirror. “At the end, we finally got them moved around.”
Juneau broke the tie when leadoff hitter Cara Mitchell scored on a bunt from Kelly Richards. Mitchell slid home just ahead of third baseman’s Tiffany Hill’s throw to the plate.
Richards scored on Lucy Jones’ triple to center. Jones finished the scoring when she trotted home on a Jennifer Kemp single.
Kodiak coach Steve Cole was encouraged by the fight in his players.
“We got smoked last season,” Cole told the Daily Mirror. “This is just a much better team. We’ve had a lot of freshmen come up who are much better ballplayers.
“This batch of girls has been playing together for a long time. Last year we kind of threw together a makeshift group.”
McLoud was brilliant in the circle. She spun a one-hitter while striking out 13 and walking five. Both runs she surrendered were unearned.
Jamie Butler broke up McLoud’s no-hitter with a bunt single in the fifth inning.
“She looked a little slower than last year,” Butler told the Mirror. “But then, she was pitching through the rain.”
Lexi Larson staked Juneau to a 1-0 in the first on an RBI single.
Kodiak took the lead in the fourth, scoring both of its runs with two outs — Hill scored on an error, while Butler made it home on a passed ball.
Juneau tied the game with an unearned run in the fifth.
Taylor scattered seven hits, struck out eight and walked four.
“We didn’t lose the game on errors,” Cole told the Mirror. “They just played better than we did.”
Juneau swept the two-game series with a 6-1 victory the next day.
The Crimson Bears sprung for four runs in the sixth inning to take control.
Joli Carswell, Juneau’s No. 2 hurler, limited Kodiak to two hits while fanning four and walking none.
Taylor, who ripped a two-out, run-scoring double in the fifth, gave up seven hits while striking out five and walking five.
Becky Baker’s single in the fourth represented Kodiak’s only other hit.
“Juneau is easily the third-best team in the state,” Cole told the Mirror. “They way we’re playing we’re probably the fourth-best.”
Kodiak capped the year with a 2-6 record.