A pair of championship-caliber swimmers, who will be roommates at Southwestern Oregon Community College this fall, displayed their mettle on the diamond this summer for the Kodiak Post 17 Bears.
Anders Hocum and Nathan James, two recent graduates of Kodiak High School, were both selected as first-team members of the Alaska Legion Baseball Team of Excellence. This is Hocum’s second time being placed on the team and James’ first.
“I know both of them would trade in this award for a better team outcome, but they deserve the recognition,” Kodiak Post 17 manager Derek Clarkston said. “They both had solid seasons and led the team on both sides of the ball.”
The speedy Hocum tracked down every ball hit to centerfield and set the tone for the Bears’ offense from the leadoff spot. In 17 league games, Hocum led Kodiak in batting average (.340), hits (18), runs (17), RBIs (14) and extra-base hits (seven).
He committed two errors in 25 opportunities and played 107 innings. Jacob Gilbert (Wasilla), Robert Cox (Juneau), Christian Cambridge (Chugiak), Luke Guggenmos (Palmer) and Gage Webster (South) were also selected as first-team outfielders.
“Hocum started the season strong and never slowed down,” Clarkston said. “He was a force to be reckoned with and proved he was one of the best outfielders in the state.”
James was selected as a catcher alongside Trystan Costanios (Chugiak) and Luke Langnes (West Anchorage).
In his finest summer for Post 17, James hit .327 — an improvement of .067 from last season — with nine runs scored and eight RBIs. He threw out nine runners and allowed only three passed balls in 18 league games.
“James’ defense stood out and kept us in a lot of games,” Clarkston said. “He has worked hard the past two summers to reach the level that he played at this summer. He was our field general and one of the best in the state behind the dish.”
Hocum and James were both pivotal pieces of Kodiak High School’s swimming program the past four years and will now be suiting up for Southwestern Oregon in the fall.
Eleven of the 16 Legion teams in Alaska were represented on the first team. Wasilla, Juneau and Chugiak all had four players on the team. Kodiak, despite finishing with a 4-14 record, had more players on the first than state qualifiers Dimond and Palmer.
The team was voted on by the 16 head coaches.
Alaska Legion Baseball Team of Excellence
Austin Robertson, Wasilla; Donavin McCurley, Juneau; Logan Smith, Kenai; Leland Wilson, West; Hayden McGarrigan, Ketchikan; Camden Costanios, Chugiak; Sam Hall, Chugiak; Mose Hayes, Kenai.
Jacob Gilbert, Wasilla; Gage Webster, South; Noah Lower, Eagle River.
Trystan Costanios, Chugiak; Luke Langnes, West; Nathan James, Kodiak.
Justin Nevells, Chugiak; Liam Kiffer, Ketchikan; Ricky Gatter, South; Christian Ludeman, Juneau; Wyatt Barajas, Ketchikan; David Michael, Kenai; Clayton Boyett, Wasilla; Matt Thompson, Dimond.
Jacob Gilbert, Wasilla; Robert Cox, Juneau; Christian Cambridge, Chugiak; Anders Hocum, Kodiak; Luke Guggenmos, Palmer; Gage Webster, South.
Damian Mohl, South; Taylon Ottinger, Wasilla; Donavin McCurley, Juneau.
Coaches of the year
Ken Ottinger, Wasilla; Matt McLaughlin, Palmer; Joe Tompkins, Juneau.
Reid Brock, South; Terren Sugita, South; Braden Olmstead, Eagle River; Sam Maudsley, Service; Luke Langnes, West; Zach Satterly, Palmer; Alex Garcia, North Pole; Jeremiah Eneix, Dimond; Robert Cox, Juneau; Gabe Storie, Juneau.
Harrison Metz, Kenai; Patrick Leshan, East; Zack Barnhart, East.
Josh Smith, Service; Dustin Peterson, North Pole; Jacob Dunham, East; Brock McCormick, Juneau.
John Grantier, Bartlett; Clancy O’Donnell, Wasilla; Reid Brock, South; Terren Sugita, South; Noah Lower, Eagle River; Braden Olmstead, Eagle River; Isaac Roehl, Fairbanks; Sean Giffen, Service; Leland Wilson, West; Jack Opinsky, West; Zach Satterly, Palmer; Owen Hayes, Palmer; Bryant Marks, Palmer; Alex Garcia, North Pole; Jacob Angaiak, Fairbanks; Billy Smith, Chugiak; Chase Solberg, East; Mose Hayes, Kenai.
Sam Lebo, West; Jack Dolan, Dimond; Kasey Watts, Juneau; Jeremy Kupferschmid, Kenai.
Nelson Korshin, Bartlett; Andrew Troppmann, Fairbanks; Harrison Metz, Kenai; Carson McLaughlin, Palmer; Dustin Peterson, North Polel Orazio Ramos, Eagle River; Logan Smith, Kenai.