WASILLA — Wasilla High’s senior baseball class of 2018 helped lead their team score three conference titles in their four years with the Warriors. But after those six players graduated, there were some big holes left in the Wasilla lineup.

“I was a little nervous this year coming in,” Wasilla skipper Ken Ottinger admitted after a win over rival Colony earlier this season.

But things have come together for the Warriors. Wasilla finished a perfect 8-0 in conference play and will battle for its fourth conference title in five years during the Southcentral Conference Championships, which starts Thursday. Wasilla is the top seed in the tournament, and will face either Redington or Kenai Thursday at 4 p.m. at Houston High School.

Ottinger has praised the contributions of all of his players throughout the season.

“I’m really happy with the guys. One thought nine in the lineup, the pitching, the defense. The kids are playing their roles,” It’s a great team atmosphere. More than baseball, it’s a family atmosphere. We’re really preaching, play your role and winning will come. I’m really happy with it.”

Wasilla finished 17-2 overall during the regular season, and the perfect 8-0 mark in region play. The Warriors capped its conference scheduled with an 11-1 win over Grace Christian on May 17. The Warriors scored in double digits in every region game this season.

Colony finished 7-1 in conference play, and is the second seed in the tournament. Palmer is the fourth seed after finishing in a three-way tie with Grace Christian and Soldotna at 4-4 in conference play. Redington, the host of the 2019 region tourney, is the ninth seed.

Redington and eighth-seeded Kenai start the tournament Thursday at 10 a.m. at Redington, with the winner moving on to play Wasilla. Defending region champion Palmer plays fifth-seeded Grace Thursday at 1 p.m. at Houston High. Colony meets seventh-seeded Homer Thursday at 4 p.m. at Redington. In other tourney action, third-seeded Kodiak plays sixth-seeded Soldotna Thursday at 1 at Redington.

The championship semifinals are slated for 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday. The championship game is Friday at 7 p.m. at Redington. The winner of that game receives the conference’s first automatic bid to the state tournament. The Southcentral Conference Championships is a double-elimination tournament. The top two teams in the consolation bracket will play Saturday at noon, with the winner of that match receiving the second berth to state.

Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at sports@frontiersman.com.

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