KODIAK — Facing one of the top American Legion baseball teams in Alaska, Kodiak held its own to begin an extended trip to the mainland.
The Bears outhit the Wasilla Road Warriors but fell 6-1 in a nonleague affair Wednesday at Wasilla High School.
Kodiak collected six hits to Wasilla’s five but couldn’t make the hits count in the run columns as the Warriors moved to 5-0 against the Bears this season.
Gareth Jones spoiled Carson Boyett’s shutout bid in the seventh inning when his line drive to left field scored Jason Foxworthy.
“You never want to lose a game, but that was a quality loss to an extremely talented team,” Kodiak Post 17 manager Derek Clarkston said. “That was one of our finest performances this season and a great way to begin our final road trip of the season.”
Wasilla, the leader in the National Division, improved to a state-best 24-5 record. The Road Warriors are 14-1 in league. Kodiak dropped to 4-21-1 overall (3-10 in league).
Kodiak pitchers Dylan Wynn, Chase Good, Jack Malloy and Jace Crall kept Wasilla’s slugging offense from hanging a crooked number on the scoreboard.
Wynn started and allowed two runs — both on groundouts — on two hits in 2 2/3 innings. The righty struck out two and walked one before leaving after 46 pitches.
Good gave up an unearned run on one hit in 1 1/3 innings. Malloy was tagged for three runs on two hits in 2/3 innings, while Crall pitched 1 1/3 no-hit frames.
“With five league games approaching, the plan was to limit pitch counts and keep everybody eligible to pitch for our doubleheader on Friday,” Clarkston said. “The pitchers were fantastic.”
Micah Bartel, a star football player and trackster for Kodiak High School, displayed his speed in the third inning when he legged out a bunt back to the pitcher for a base hit — Kodiak’s first of the game. He added a single to right in the fifth and swiped two bags.
Kodiak picked up its only run in the seventh inning. With one out, Jason Foxworthy was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a passed ball. An out later, Jones brought Foxworthy home on a single.
Hunter Williams followed with a single to right that sent Jones to third. Boyett ended the rally by getting Good to flyout to center. Boyett struck out seven and walked one on 102 pitches.
Good and Mallloy added singles for Kodiak.
Wasilla scored its first two runs of the game on RBI groundouts — one by Kyle Graham in the first and one by Clayton Boyett in the third. The Road Warriors made it 3-0 in the fourth when Jacob Gilbert scored on a passed ball.
Kodiak concludes the regular season with two games against Ketchikan (today) and North Pole (Saturday), and a single game against Palmer (Sunday).
The Bears will remain in Anchorage to play in either the state tournament or Matson Invitational. Both postseason tournaments begin July 26 in Anchorage. The top eight teams in the standings qualify for the state tournament, while the bottom eight play in the Matson.
To advance to state for the second straight season, the Bears would need to win their final five games and get help from other teams.
“It’s a tall order, but we thought we were done last season and look what happened,” said Clarkston in reference to Kodiak’s surprising entrance into last year’s state tournament when two teams failed to purchase insurance by the deadline.