WASILLA — Ken Ottinger and his assistants had a game plan for their pitching staff Wednesday night. But sometimes when a player is at their best, it’s time to pivot from the script.
Carson Boyett tossed his first career American Legion varsity complete game and led the Wasilla Road Warriors to a 6-1 win over the Kodiak Bears at Wasilla High School.
Ottinger said the original plan was to have Boyett hit 30 pitches and the Road Warriors would go to the bullpen and give some other arms some work. But the mindset changed when Boyett started to cruise.
“You can’t take him out when he’s doing that good,” Ottinger said. “We just let him ride.”
Boyett struck out seven in the win, while walking only one. Kodiak didn’t plate a run until the final moments of the game. Two of Kodiak’s six hits and the lone run came with two outs left in the seventh. Boyett allowed only one hit through the first four innings.
“We told him, fill the zone with strikes, let the defense do its work,” Ottinger said.
Jacob Hansen led the Road Warriors at the plate with two RBI. Jacob Gilbert scored twice.
Wasilla improved to 24-5 overall and 14-1 in league play with the win. The Road Warriors currently have the best record in the state, and have already clinched a berth in the upcoming state tournament. But Wasilla is entering a monster weekend of the regular season that includes three games against two of the best teams in the state.
The Road Warriors host Juneau (18-2, 10-1) Friday in a doubleheader that starts at 3 p.m. Wasilla follows that with a road game Saturday at 1 p.m. against Chugiak (22-3, 13-2).
“It’s gonna be a crazy couple days,” Ottinger said. “Everything is going to unfold in what, three days?”
Ottinger, the head coach of both the Wasilla legion program and the Wasilla High baseball program, said it’s been a stranger, roller coaster summer. In June, Ottinger’s Wasilla High team won the first state baseball championship in school history. The majority of the legion team is made up by players who earned a high school state title.
“I’ve learned a lot about coaching this year after winning a state championship,” Ottinger said.
Even through the Road Warriors sport the state’s best record, he said his team is not playing its best baseball.
“We’re not where we want to be, but we’re getting there,” Ottinger said.
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.