Baseball

Kodiak High School’s John Norton greets his teammates during player introductions before the start of a baseball game against West Valley Saturday at Baranof Field. (Derek Clarkston photo)

After starting the season with six nonconference games, Kodiak’s baseball team will finally play a game that counts today against Soldotna.

The Southcentral Conference opener for both teams begins at 5 p.m. at Baranof Field. The two teams will meet again at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Despite posting a 2-4 record in the first two weeks of the season, coach James Arnold said his team is ready to begin conference play.

“They are coming around sto where we expected them to be at this time of the year with the number of preseason games,” Arnold said. “As coaches we are seeing what we needed to see to give us the best chance to move forward in the Southcentral Conference.”

Kodiak was last year’s regular-season conference champion with a 9-1 record, but finished third in the conference tournament — one spot shy of reaching the state tournament.

Arnold has a 19-6 record against teams in his first two seasons with Kodiak.

“We are happy about that and we are excited, but every year you get a new team and this team here has to set their own conference mark,” Arnold said. “They have to come out and believe in themselves and play to their level.”

Kodiak plays two games against teams from the South Division — Homer, Kenai and Soldotna — and one game against teams from the North Division — Wasilla, Colony, Palmer and Houston.

Every team qualifies for the conference championship, but only the top two advance to the state tournament. Wasilla is the defending conference champion, while Colony was last year’s runner-up.

Contact Derek Clarkston at sports@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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