KODIAK — Errors, walks and giving up big innings to the opposition doomed Kodiak Post 17 throughout the American Legion baseball regular season.
That didn’t change in the Matson Invitational.
Kodiak bowed out of the postseason tournament and ended its season with back-to-back losses, 11-10 to Service and 11-3 to East Anchorage at Bartlett High School.
The Bears concluded their sixth AA season with a 5-27-1 record.
“We had a lot of expectations after finishing last season at the state tournament,” manager Derek Clarkston said. “The ball just didn’t bounce our way this season and we could never get rolling.”
Kodiak said goodbye to seniors Chase Good and Khyler Kanem, who will be too old to play next season, while the team will most likely lose seniors Nathan James, Anders Hocum and Micah Bartel, though those three are still eligible to return to the diamond.
Good, Kane, James and Hocum have been the backbone of the ballclub for the past three seasons.
“We lingered on the field after the game sharing moments and soaking up what was left. It’s going to be strange not writing their names on the lineup card next season,” Clarkston said. “We do have a good core of young players who are already looking forward to improving during the offseason.”
Good went out with an offensive flurry, driving in six of Kodiak’s 13 runs in the tournament on four base hits, which included a three-run double against Service.
Kodiak’s pitching staff couldn’t overcome the poor defense behind them as only six of the 22 runs the Bears gave up were earned. Kodiak committed 15 errors in the two games.
“I would like to contribute the sloppy defense to the long trip but we simply did not make the routine plays that it takes to win games at this level,” Clarkston said.
Kodiak has been on the road since July 15 and, because of the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry strike, will not fly back to the island until Wednesday. Kodiak was supposed to board the ferry in Homer Tuesday.
“Everything that could go wrong this season did go wrong, including the ferry workers going on strike,” Clarkston said. “This has been a challenging season in more ways than one.”
SERVICE 11, KODIAK 10
In a wild game that featured 10 runs in the fourth inning, it was Service that held on for a one-run victory in the opening game of the Matson Invitational on Friday.
Kodiak nearly picked up the win and advanced in the tournament. The Bears plated three runs in the final inning and had the go-ahead run on second base when James smoked a line drive that was caught by the first baseman, who then doubled up the runner at third to end the game and send the Bears to the consolation bracket.
“It finally looked like things were going to go our way but then their first baseman makes a great play,” Clarkston said. “James couldn’t have hit the ball any harder. A few inches higher and we move on.”
Service raced out to a 6-2 lead, but a five-run fourth inning put Kodiak up 7-6. Good delivered a two-out, three-run double during that tied the game, while Dylan Wynn followed with a triple that gave Kodiak the lead.
The Cougars retook the lead for good with a five spot in their half of the fourth.
Kodiak’s top four hitters did all the damage, driving in nine runs and scoring six times.
Good went 2 for 4 with four RBIs, while Jack Malloy went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. Wynn also drove in two and Hocum scored three times.
Wynn pitched the first 2 1/3 innings. He allowed six runs — one earned — on one hit while striking out two and walking seven. Good allowed five runs — two earned — on four hits in 1 1/3 innings, while Malloy did not allow a run in 1 1/3 innings.
EAST 11, KODIAK 3
East scored nine unanswered runs to end Kodiak’s season in an elimination game on Saturday.
The Bears grabbed a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third when Good, who singled, raced home on a wild pitch.
East then plated six runs with two outs in the fourth to take the lead for good.
Good and Hocum accounted for all of Kodiak’s hits. Good went 2 for 2 with two RBIs, while Hocum went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
Malloy allowed six runs — one earned — on four hits in 3 2/3 innings. The righty struckout four and walked four. Jace Crall pitched 3 1/3 innings, giving up five runs — two earned — on four hits.
Chase Solberg went 6 1/3 innings for East, striking out seven and walking three.