Tonight’s 7:30 p.m. nonleague American Legion AA baseball game is the first of 12 consecutive games at Baranof Field for Post 17 — a span of three straight weekends at home.
With half of the contests being conference games, Kodiak manager Leonard Pickett sees this is a big opportunity to move up in the standings. As of Thursday evening, Kodiak is in sixth place in the National Division with 15 points (3-3 in league, 5-4 overall).
“This is a big part of the conference season,” Pickett said. “How well we do in the conference games is either going to put us in position to be in the state tournament at the end of July or not.”
Eagle River is making its first-ever baseball trip to Kodiak and leads the National Division with 30 points (7-2 league, 7-2 overall). The Wolves are coming off a successful high school season where they qualified for the state tournament for the first time in school history.
“They have a lot of kids off that team and have been winning some ball games and have been beating some good teams,” Pickett said. “They are well coached and have some good ball players.”
Eagle River’s Legion squad features first-team Cook Inlet Conference players Guido Gerali (pitcher), Mike Rosenberg (first base) and Trent Talley (relief pitcher).
Saturday will be a long day of baseball with a pair of league games. The first game beginning at 12:30 p.m. is set for nine innings, which will be followed by a seven-inning game.
The series finale at 11 a.m. Sunday is a nonconference tilt.
Kodiak finishes its final homestand of the season with four games each against Kenai (July 4-5) and Bartlett (July 11-13).
Kenai (5-3, 6-3) is third in the South Division with 23 points, while Bartlett (4-2, 7-7) is fourth with 18 points.
Kodiak is coming off a 3-2 road trip where it swept a league doubleheader from Palmer and beat Bartlett in a nonleague game. In the two league losses against East Anchorage and Service, Post 17 committed 13 errors.
In the two practices this week, Pickett has been stressing to the team the importance of playing defense. He said he is not sure how the team made so many errors after only combining for nine in the first four games of the season against Chugiak.
“For the long road trips it might just be the kids being a little bit tired and staying focused for so many games in a row,” he said. “It could come down to playing kids in different positions that they are not comfortable in, which we are doing — we are moving kids around a little bit.”
Contact Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team Points League Overall
Eagle River 30 7-2 7-2
Chugiak 26 6-2 8-5
Kenai 23 5-3 6-3
Bartlett 18 4-2 7-7
Fairbanks 30 16 3-4 5-6
Kodiak 15 3-3 5-4
Fairbanks 11 14 2-6 2-9
Palmer 6 0-6 0-6
Team Points League Overall
Wasilla 21 5-1 6-1
Juneau 21 5-1 7-2
Service 20 4-4 7-5
Dimond 17 4-1 8-1
Ketchikan 15 3-3 4-5
East 14 2-6 4-8
South 8 1-4 4-6
West 4 0-6 0-10