Knights, Marauders split regular season series

By David Pan | May 05, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Kamiak’s Justin Park slides safely into third base during a Wesco 4A game against Mariner Thursday, April 27, at Kamiak High School.

Kamiak and Mariner played to a stalemate in last week’s two-game series.

Behind the strong performance of pitcher Levi Ouellette the Knights won the opener 5-0 on Thursday, April 27, and the Marauders rebounded with a 7-2 victory on Friday, April 28, in Wesco 4A baseball action.

Thursday’s win had special meaning for the Knights, who honored former coach Frank Nickerson and former player Jake Long in a special pregame ceremony at Kamiak High School. Nickerson passed away last summer after a lengthy battle with cancer. Long was one of three Kamiak graduates killed at a party last summer.

“The ceremony beforehand made it emotional,” Ouellette, who pitched six innings of shutout ball. “We made it personal. We won. No doubt about that.”

Ouellette said his curve ball was effective and he threw a lot of strikes.

“Nothing too special,” he added. “We just went out and went to work.”

Kamiak coach Kevin Agnew said Ouellette had good control all game.

“He was ahead all night,” Agnew said. “He got himself out of a couple of situations with guys on base. We kind of got into trouble. He battled his way out and we played good defense behind him. We swung the ball well toward the end of the game.

Senior Justin Park had three hits and Chris Lambert and Wayson Vannatta each hit a double.

The next day the Marauders scored five runs in the third and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the six to pull out the 7-2 victory.

Senior Tim Kukhotskiy singled in two runs and Dylan Young, Elijah White and Will Ozuna each drove in a run with hits in the third.

“It was a big inning for us,” Mariner coach Ryan Otto said. “We just kept stringing it together. … It was nice to see the bats come alive.”

Mariner sophomore pitcher Cody McDuffee shut out the Knights through 5 2/3 innings before being pulled due to a pitch count. Kamiak cut the deficit to 5-2 on a double by Andrew Sonnichsen. When the Knights loaded the bases after a walk, Otto brought in catcher Bret Otterson, who ended the threat with a strikeout. Otterson fell behind 2-0 before retiring the final batter.

“I was confident,” Otterson said. “I’m used to coach putting me in positions where the game is on the line.”

Otterson threw a fastball for what turned out to be a called third strike.

“That felt great,” he said.

The Marauders tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, taking advantage of Kamiak’s lack of control on the mound. Two walks and two hit batters led to the two runs.

Mariner’s McDuffee set the tone for his teammates, Otterson said.

“Cody was on fire today,” he said. “He was locating. He was throwing hard. He was dominant today.”

Otto also praised Otterson, who caught the entire game before brought in to close out the contest.

“It’s the hardest thing in the world in baseball to catch that whole game, sitting in the sun and in the middle of the inning in a huge jam, I call on him and he comes in and does the job,” Otto said.

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