With a mix of snow and rain falling, Kodiak’s Hunter Williams finally got the opportunity to take the mound in the Rex Edward Matautia Invitational.
He was amped and, considering the conditions, pitched well in a 9-2 nonconference baseball loss to Division I Colony Thursday evening at a slick and slippery Baranof Field.
Williams — a senior right-hander — made his season debut on the mound a year after being named a Southcentral Conference first-teamer and the most outstanding pitcher at the Alaska American Legion state tournament as a member of the Post 20 Kenai Twins.
He wasn’t flashy against Colony but shook off the off-season rust with a four-inning outing where he allowed only one hit, struck out one and walked two. He allowed four runs — two in the first and two in the second — and left after 64 pitches down by two.
“He was kind of antsy and waiting. He would ask, ‘Coach, when am I going to go in,’” Kodiak seventh-year skipper Jason Fox said. “He was just trying to get back and feel comfortable and came in and threw strikes. That was his main focus today.”
He did it at the dish, too, accounting for two of Kodiak’s three hits off Colony starter Brayden Parrent.
Williams lasered a line drive triple over the center fielder’s head in the first inning that scored Malakai Olson, who walked. Williams trotted home when the relay throw to third hit the top of Kodiak’s dugout and bounced out of play.
Down 4-2 In the third, Williams got on with a one-out single, and his courtesy runner — Zeke Saltsonstall — motored to third on a Tyler Christiansen opposite-field double to left.
Kodiak’s threat ended there. Saltonstall was tagged out at home on a botched squeeze. The inning concluded a pitch later on a strike out — one of seven on the night for Parrent, who pitched with a ski mask covering his face and struggled with the footing on the slippery mound. It was that kind of night.
Colony — last year’s third-place finisher at the Division I state tournament — broke the game open with a five-run fifth inning highlighted by a Parrent double and a Zephon Rhowmine single.
The game was called after the bottom of the fifth due to the 2-hour, 15-minute time limit.
“For the conditions, I thought it was great. We didn’t have as many errors as we had last night (Wednesday),” Fox said.
Kodiak started the day with a 9-8 loss to Wasilla. The Bears trailed 9-1 in the contest and nearly rallied with a seven-run sixth to hand the Warriors (3-0) their first loss in the tournament.
Christiansen laced a pair of doubles against Wasilla, while Olson had two singles.
Jon Flerchinger started on the mound and went four innings. He gave up four runs on five hits while fanning three and walking one.
During Kodiak’s first three games, freshmen Landen Alford and Jeremy Mahle, and sophomore Cason Stafford tasted high school baseball for the first time— and it came against two of the top programs in the state. Stafford and Mahle — the younger brother of former Kodiak standout pitcher Brandon Mahle — pitched on Thursday, while Alford helped Williams by making four putouts.
“It was kind of funny to see the looks on some of the freshman’s faces getting in, with the pace of play and the caliber of teams we are playing,” Fox said.
Because of the inclement weather in the forecast for today and Saturday, Thursday’s nightcap might have been the final game of the Rex Edward Matautia Invitational. Fox said that today’s games have been canceled in favor of a group practice. Kodiak (0-3) could play Colony (1-1) to close the tournament on Saturday morning, but that is weather dependent.
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