The Bears leave Saturday for the Lions Invitational High School Baseball Tournament that begins Monday in San Diego, Calif.
“We are looking to continue the education of the game of baseball,” Kodiak coach James Arnold said.
Kodiak, last year’s state fifth-place finisher, challenges Foothill Christian (Calif.) in Monday’s opener at 2 p.m. Alaska Standard Time. Arnold said Foothill went 25-3 last season.
The Bears end pool play with games against Rock Academy (11 a.m. Tuesday) and Lincoln High School (2 p.m. Wednesday) both from California.
If Kodiak finishes first in its pool, it plays a Thursday semifinal with the chance of playing for the 16-team Division I title.
The tournament has a total of 128 teams that are spread throughout eight divisions. Kodiak played in this tournament in 2011 and went 0-4.
Arnold asked the tournament director for Kodiak to be placed in a division with high caliber teams.
“I want to win, but I want to play up,” Arnold said. “I want them to play a really good team.”
Arnold said playing schools with a larger enrollment than Kodiak will help his team when Southcentral Conference games begins. The Bears finished second in last year’s conference tournament.
“This is all to get us ready for our conference play,” he said.
The trip down south comes at the hefty cost of $20,000. The team fundraised through the winter to make the voyage possible. Arnold said he wanted to make sure this team, which has eight seniors, got a chance to travel Outside for competition.
‘The main reason behind it is to give this group an opportunity to play in front of some crowds, some college coaches … it is just an opportunity to showcase what they can do. It is a very senior class and the earned it,” Arnold said.
Kodiak (2-1) is taking 15 players, which does include a few junior varsity players.
Arnold said he hopes to take the players to a San Diego Padres game and possibly other sites.
“I would love to take them to the beach,” Arnold said. “We will see how that plays in because I don’t want them to be tired, especially if we are playing Thursday.”
Contact Mirror Writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.