During a pair of regular season starts against Soldotna this season, Palmer standout pitcher Landon Guggenmos was tagged with a couple of tough luck losses.
SoHi beat Palmer 4-2 each time earlier this spring.
But Guggenmos and the Moose had another shot at the Stars, in the biggest game of the season so far. Guggrnmos pitched a complete game one-hitter and led Palmer to a 5-1 win over Soldotna during the Southcentral Conference title game Friday night at Redington Jr./Sr. High School in Wasilla.
“Straight up domination. It’s what I expected from here,” Palmer head coach Dave Combs said of the right-hander after the win. “One hit against a really good hitting team.”
Combs said Guggenmos was ready for this one.
“He wanted this game really bad,” Combs said.
Guggenmos fanned 13 SoHi hitters, and capped the win by striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh. Combs said it’s the best he’s seen Guggenmos pitch in at least two years.
“He really pitched instead of just throw. We’ve been working on that all season,” Combs said.
Guggenmos finished with 104 total pitches, 67 for strikes.
“He was getting ahead, and he threw everything,” Combs said. “When he gets ahead, he can throw all of his pitches.”
Gabe Jaime led Palmer at the plate with two hits and three RBI. Jaime gave Palmer the early lead with a two-run single in the top of the first. He also added another RBI in the top of the seventh, to add to Palmer’s cushion. Chad Landon added two RBI. Dylan Garrettson led Palmer with three runs scored.
Gavin Jones collected the lone hit for Soldotna, a single in the bottom of the fourth. Jones later scored on a Dylan Davidhizer ground out.
“They’re the best team we’ve played all season in our division,” Combs said. “I expect to see them in state.”
Palmer, the defending Division II state champs, earns an automatic bid to the 2022 DII state tourney, which starts June 2 in Wasilla. The Moose open against region rival Kodiak at 6:30 p.m. The Stars have also punched their state tourney ticket. Soldotna was the top seed entering the tourney, and Palmer was seeded second.
Palmer and SoHi both won twice on Thursday. The Moose beat Grace 13-3 and Kenai 3-0. SoHi beat Redington 15-0 and Kodiak 11-1.
Soldotna’s Atticus Gibson also pitched a complete game, scattering 10 hits and three earned runs over seven innings. He fanned five and didn’t walk a batter.