KODIAK — Kodiak was one strike away from sweeping Ketchikan in a league doubleheader Friday at Kosinski Fields in Anchorage.
Leading 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh in the second game of the twinbill, Kodiak needed one strike to polish off the Kings. The situation was tense: a full count with the bases loaded and two outs.
Hunter Williams’ offering — his 108th and final pitch of the contest — sailed high, bringing home the tying run.
The game ended a batter later on a controversial call. Liam Kiffer, the high school hitter of the year, blooped a ball down the right-field that was initially called foul by the umpire, who then overturned the decision, saying the ball hit the chalk. Game over: Ketchikan, 2, Kodiak 1.
What transpired in the seventh spoiled a brilliant outing from Williams, a rising Kodiak High School freshman.
Williams retired the first six batters he faced and took a one-hitter into the fifth inning against a potent Ketchikan lineup. He entered the seventh having only given up two singles and only two runners reaching second base.
And, he nearly worked out of trouble in the seventh.
Gabe Bowlen led off the final frame with a single to right. An out later, an Azaziah Schultz single to right moved Bowlen to third. James Nordlund — courtesy running for Schultz then stole second — which forced Kodiak Post 17 manager Derek Clarkston to intentionally walk Terik Brown to load the bases and set up a force out at any base.
Williams responded by striking out leadoff hitter CJ Casper on a full count but wasn’t as lucky on a full-count pitch to Korbin Stack.
“It’s a shame that we couldn’t pull out the win for Hunter,” Clarkston said. “The kid pitched fantastic — by far the best outing of his young career. We have been waiting to see this type of performance from him the entire season.”
Williams ended with four strikeouts and four walks, while allowing two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also singled in the seventh.
Kodiak scored its only run in the second inning.
With one out, Nathan James walked, stole second and scored on a Jack Malloy grounder up the middle.
Malloy, who was catching, would exit the game in the third inning when a foul ball he was attempting to catch glanced off his glove and struck his left eye. He was taken to the hospital and was cleared with five stitches being administered. He is listed as day-to-day.
Kodiak was held to only five hits by Ketchikan starter Hardem McGarrigan, who needed only 70 pitches to navigate seven innings. He struck out five and walked one.
Chase Good went 2 for 3 with a ground-rule double to left field that just missed clearing the fence for a home run.
The loss officially eliminated Kodiak (4-13 league, 5-24-1 overall) from earning a return trip to the state tournament.
KODIAK 11, KETCHIKAN 10
The Bears scored eight runs in the fourth inning and held on for a wild one-run victory.
Clinging to an 11-10 lead, Kodiak turned a double play to end the game. With runners on first and second, shortstop Chase Good caught a line drive over the second base bag, then threw to second to double up the runner to preserve the win and make a winner out of Dylan Wynn.
Wynn kept the Bears in the game, pitching four innings in relief of Malakai Olson, who gave up five runs in the first inning, including a two-run home run from Wyatt Barajas.
Wynn pitched into the sixth inning, allowing four runs on four hits while fanning two and walking one.
Good allowed one run in his one inning, while Malloy entered with two men on and nobody out in the seventh to earn the save; he needed only four pitches to do so.
“Down 5-0 right out of the gates, the team never gave up, which was nice to see because that wasn’t happening early in the season,” Clarkston said.
Kodiak scored 11 runs on only three hits. The Bears benefited from 16 free passes: 14 walks and two hit batters. Post 17 scored three runs in the first all on bases-loaded walks, then scored eight runs in the fourth on only two hits: a single from Khyler Kane that broke up the no-hitter and a run-scoring single from Anders Hocum to take an 11-6 lead.
Hocum and Malloy both produced two RBIs, while Good, Wynn, Jace Crall, James, Kane and Gareth Jones each drove in a run.
Second baseman Kane turned a nifty double play in the fifth inning when he scooped up a grounder over the bag and threw the ball to first to complete the play.
A day after playing their best ball of the season, the Bears fell flat in a league doubleheader against North Pole.
The Wild swept the two games, winning 16-4 and 12-2. Both games ended via the 10-run mercy rule.
“We came out sluggish and never got going,” Clarkston said.
Kodiak couldn’t get out of its own way as only 11 of the 30 runs the Wild scored were earned. The Bears committed five errors in each game.
North Pole took control of the first game with five runs in the second and eight in the fourth to end the game in the fifth.
Dylan Wynn went 2 for 3 with a triple and an RBI. Good and James each drove in one on singles.
Jason Foxworthy started and gave up five runs: two earned on four hits in 1 2/3 innings. Crall was tagged for nine runs — two earned — on five hits in 2 1/3 innings. Jones authored a scoreless inning.
In the second game, the Wild scored in every frame to end the game in the sixth inning. The North Pole team collected 10 hits off Kodiak pitchers Good and Olson.
Good struck out three, walked four and hit three in 4 2/3 innings. He collected two of Kodiak’s five hits and drove in one.
Jones went 2 for 3, while Crall had an RBI.
Kodiak concluded the regular season Sunday with a league game against Palmer. The Bears will remain in Anchorage to play in the Matson Invitational, which begins Friday at Bartlett High School.