After splitting a doubleheader with Homer on Thursday, Kodiak’s softball team needed to win its final four games to qualify for state.
The Bears handled the pressure and ended the regular-season with Northern Lights Conference sweeps of Kenai and Skyview to earn a trip to the small-school state softball tournament for the first time since 2009.
“They were really excited,” third-year coach Sam Catt said. “I was just happy for them. They worked hard and earned it.”
Kodiak finishes the regular season as the No. 2 team in the NLC with an 8-2 record, 14-8 overall. The Bears open the state tournament against Southeast Conference champion Sitka at 11 a.m. Friday at Cartee Fields in Anchorage. Kodiak went 1-1 against Sitka earlier this season at the Sitka Invitational.
“We are looking forward to get up to Anchorage and getting into the tournament,” Catt said. “The good thing about that is we beat them this season.”
On Friday, Kodiak won the first game 8-1 in five innings before taking the second 14-3 in six innings.
That was followed on Saturday by a pair of wins over Skyview — 9-2 and 15-7, both in six innings.
Kodiak had to work for it in the nightcap against Skyview. The Panthers (4-6) led 7-1 after the first inning.
“I was about ready to have a heart attack,” Catt said. “In the first game they didn’t know what to do with Kaia (Yatsik). In the second game, they made some pretty awesome adjustments and were smacking the ball hard.”
Kodiak’s offense made Catt feel at ease with a seven-run second to take the lead for good at 8-7.
Dannika Catt was a big contributor in the win, going 3 for 3 with four RBIs, while Megan Pyle went 2 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs.
In the opener, Kodiak built an 8-2 advantage after four innings. Stephanie Price had three hits, including a double, and three RBIs. Krystina Stobinski added two hits and two RBIs. Yatsik struck out eight.
Freshman Kalameli Matautia provided the offense in Friday’s first game against Kenai, going 3 for 4, with three runs scored and one RBI.
In the second game, Tessa King went 4 for 4 with a double and two RBIs, Pyles hit three singles with two RBIs, while Catt was had two singles, a double and two RBIs.