For the second straight season, Kodiak Post 17 opened at home against a perennial state power.
And for the second straight season, the Bears lost a pair of close league games.
Kodiak fell to Dimond Post 21, last year’s American Legion Baseball state runner-up, 4-3 and 10-8 in a league doubleheader Friday at Baranof Field.
Last season, Kodiak opened at home with 2-1 and 3-2 losses to South Anchorage.
Defensive miscues cost Kodiak in both league games as nine of Dimond’s 14 runs were unearned. The Bears committed 10 errors — five in both games.
“We were in both games but we couldn’t stay away from the big inning,” Kodiak manager Derek Clarkston said. “One error cascaded into several errors. You have to play clean baseball to be able to win.”
Dimond improved to 4-1 league, 7-1 overall. The Lynx lead the eight-team American Division with 17 points.
In Friday’s opener, Kodiak surrendered all four runs in a nightmare of a first inning.
The Bears committed four of their five errors in the first frame that led to all four runs for Dimond.
Pitchers Chase Good and Micah Arndt then spun six scoreless innings to keep Kodiak in the game.
Good started and went four innings. He scattered eight hits, struck out five, walked two and hit two batters.
Ardnt was magnificent, limiting Dimond to only one hit in three innings on 34 pitches.
“The pitchers did an unbelievable job this weekend shutting down a Dimond lineup that can generate runs,” Clarkston said. “They just didn’t get any help behind them this entire series.”
Kodiak cut Dimond’s lead in half in the bottom of the first on run-scoring singles from Dylan Wynn and Nathan James.
The score remained 4-2 until the bottom of the sixth.
With two outs, Gareth Jones laced a soft liner to right field that scored Nathan James, who doubled for his third hit of the game.
Kodiak got the tying run on in the bottom of the seventh when Hunter Williams led off with a walk. An out later, Williams was wiped out on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Dylan Wynn.
Matthew Thompson, who relieved starter Parker Coplin in the sixth, ended the game with a strikeout, his third in 1 1/3 innings.
Coplin struck out five in 5 2/3 innings while scattering seven hits and allowing all three runs.
Wynn went 2-for-4 with a double.
Thompson went 3-for-4 at the dish, whey Adam Boyce was 2-for-3. All nine of Dimond’s hits went for singles.
Dimond erased a five-run deficit to send Kodiak home with a heartbreaking 10-8 loss.
The Bears jumped on Lynx starter Logan Smith in the second inning.
Khyler Kane laced a single down the third-base line that scored Micah Bartel and Arndt.
Jones followed with a walk. An out later, Anders Hocum mashed a three-run home run to left field to stake Kodiak to a 5-0 lead.
Dimond, the home team, ended a seven-inning scoreless stretch with a run in the bottom of the second.
The Lynx then got to Kodiak starter Wynn with four runs in the third inning to tie the game at 5 — only two runs were earned.
Dimond broke open the game with solo runs in the fourth and fifth and three runs in the sixth off reliever Williams to take a 10-5 lead.
Williams allowed four hits in three innings while striking out five and walking four.
Kodiak made things interesting in the top of the seventh.
Hocum reached on a throwing error by shortstop Thompson to begin the inning. Williams followed with a double to center.
Dimond then committed another error on a Chase Good grounder that plated Hocum and moved Williams to third. Williams scored on an Omar Llamos single that cut Dimond’s lead to 10-7.
With one out, Ardnt walked to load the bases. Good then came home on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to two runs.
Malakai Olson drew a one-out walk to reload the bases, but Jack Dolan ended the rally by striking out Kodiak’s final two hitters.
Dimond closed out the four-game series with 12-4 nonleague win on Saturday.
The Lynx scored nine runs in the third inning to seal the win.
Gareth Jones started on the mound for Kodiak and went 5 2/3 innings. He allowed 10 run — seven earned — on nine hits while striking out three and walking three.
Llamos allowed two runs on one hit in relief.
Hocum continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI.
Good went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Llamos and Olson each picked up singles.
Dolan belted a pair of doubles for Dimond, while Luke Smith and Petyon Mantagna each drove in a pair of runs.
Kodiak (0-2 league, 0-4 overall) hosts East Anchorage (2-1, 2-3) in a four-game series that begins Thursday at Baranof Field.
Thursday’s nonleague game starts at 6:30 p.m., while Friday’s league doubleheader begins at 4 p.m. The series concludes with a nonleague game at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Kodiak edged East last year in Anchorage 3-1.
The Bears will be looking to snap a six-game losing skid that dates back to last season.
Kodiak’s last win was a historic one, a 3-1 upset over No. 1 seed Juneau at last year’s state tournament.