The Legion AA Bears finished an extended stay on the mainland by dropping a pair of league games to American Division leader South Anchorage.
Kodiak lost 13-3 on Monday at Taylar Young Field and 12-8 on Tuesday at Bartlett High School.
Tuesday’s game concluded a stretch of eight consecutive days of baseball for Post 17 that included 10 games in Palmer, Wasilla and Anchorage. The Bears went 2-8 on the trip and returned to the island with a 4-20-1 record.
Post 17 will not be home for long as the team sets sail on July 15 for a season-ending trip that runs through July 31. That voyage will include six games — five league — and postseason play.
With a 3-10 league record, Kodiak is in sixth place in the American Division with 22 points and is all but eliminated from a return trip to the state tournament — the Bears, as the No. 8 seed, tied for fifth at last year’s state tournament.
Instead, Kodiak will finish the regular season looking to obtain a top seed in the Matson Invitational, a tournament for the eight teams that do no qualify for state.
“After last season, we had expectations of getting back to state, but it just hasn’t materialized this season,” Post 17 skipper Derek Clarkston said. “We will shift our focus and look to finish the season strong.”
The schedule has not been kind to Kodiak as nine of the team’s 13 league games have been against teams with a combined record of 46-15; the Bears’ final five league games are against teams with a combined 15-17 record.
“I’m hoping all the tough competition that we have faced has made us tougher for the final stretch of the season,” Clarkston said.
Kodiak nearly pulled off a miracle finish in Tuesday’s game against South, which leads the American Division with a 12-3 record.
Down 12-3 after the fourth inning, the Bears chipped away at the lead and brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the bottom of the seventh.
However, South shut the door on the comeback, ending the game with a strikeout and a groundout.
Dylan Wynn gave Kodiak’s offense a chance to get back in the game. The right-hander slung four solid innings, allowing only two runs on three hits while striking out one and walking one.
Kodiak started its comeback in the fifth when Gareth Jones landed a single in the outfield that scored Nathan James, who reached on a single.
The Bears got another run in the sixth when Jack Malloy scored on a passed ball.
Kodiak put up three runs in the seventh, which was highlighted by run-scoring singles from Malloy and Jace Crall.
Jones went 2 for 4 with two RBIs, while Nathan James and Crall each had two singles.
Chase Good and Micah Bartel each singled.
Leading 5-3, South scored seven runs in the fourth to go up 12-3. The Wolverines ended with 11 hits, with Reid Brock going 2 for 3 with three RBIs.
Malloy allowed five runs — four earned — on four hits in 1 1/3 innings, while Good also gave up five runs — four earned — on four hits in 1 2/3 innings.
South scored 13 runs in the first three innings to send Kodiak to a 13-3 loss in five innings.
Kodiak scored first, plating two runs in the opening frame when Wynn doubled home Good and Hunter Williams.
South took the lead for good with four runs in the bottom of the first. The Wolverines then struck for three in the second and six in the third.
Good and Malakai Olson accounted for Kodiak’s only other base hits. off South pitchers Ivan Kiel, Gunnar Nix and Josh Costello.
Crall gave up 13 runs — eight earned — on 11 hits in 2 1/3 innings. Jack Malloy did not allow a hit in 1 2/3 innings in relief.