Catt, who coaches third base, preaches to his players to always take the extra base when possible.
“If they end up getting caught stealing or when I am pushing them, that is my fault,” Catt said. “That is the way I like it. It takes a perfect relay, a perfect throw and a perfect tag. You want to make that team do that to you and until that happens you have to push it.”
Aggressive base running has its ups and downs, but ultimately is one reason why Kodiak is playing at the small-school state tournament that begins today at Cartee Fields in Anchorage.
The team has bought into Catt’s offensive strategy.
“He pushes us to go forward,” senior Kristina Stobinski said. “We have signs that we use to get us going through the bases to really put pressure on a team. Having a good infield is one thing, but running aggressively on the base paths is how you are going to get points.”
A new opponent
Whatever happens in the opening-round, Kodiak will see a team it hasn’t faced this season.
The Bears will play the Ketchikan/North Pole winner in a winners’ bracket game at 3:30 p.m. today.
Kodiak did not face either of those two teams during the regular season. Ketchikan was last year’s state runner-up, while North Pole dropped from the large-school to the small-school classification this season.
The Kings finished second in the Southeast Conference this season, while North Pole won the Mid-Alaska Conference.
“They are both good,” Catt said. “North Pole is no joke and Ketchikan is always good. It is going to be a tough game for us. We got to be ready to rock and roll and have our A game. If we do that, win or lose, I will be happy.”
Kodiak beat Ketchikan, 15-0, in 2008 to capture the program’s first state title.
A lot of innings
This season, Catt said the Alaska School Activities Association has decided to do away with the 90-minute time limit for each game. Instead, each game will go the full seven innings, unless the mercy rule is reached.
Some teams could play three seven-inning games in a day or five full games in two days.
“Most teams have one solid No. 1 pitcher — and not to mention the catcher — three seven-inning games with the same pitcher and catcher is brutal,” Catt said.
If Kodiak wins its 3:30 p.m. semifinal game today, it will not play again until Saturday. However, a loss would force the Bears to play again today at 6 p.m.
“If we can go out and take care of business we will have one game on Friday and that is huge,” Catt said.
East Anchorage and Lathrop earned byes into the semifinals, while South Anchorage plays West Anchorage and Chugiak plays Colony in the opening-round.
East Anchorage is the defending state champions.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.