Manager George Lee is hoping to end that drought this season with a team loaded with experience.
Ten of Kodiak’s 11 players are 12 years old, while seven were on last year’s squad.
“It is basically the same team that we had last year, only they are three inches taller and faster and have more experience,” Lee said.
Last year’s team lost all four of its games and did not advance out of pool play. This year’s pool play begins July 7 in Anchorage. Kodiak again has four games and begins with Nunaka Valley-City. Knik, Anchorage Military and Palmer are also in Kodiak’s pool. The top four teams advance to the District I Finals that are also held in Anchorage.
Lee believes his team is ready to advance past pool play.
“This group of boys has bonded and is playing so well together,” he said.
With mandatory pitch counts, teams stocked with pitchers usually do well in tournaments, and Kodiak has plenty of hurlers to carry the load. Nevin Lee, Nathan James, AJ Barton and Lars Hanson headline a staff of seven pitchers.
“We just pitched a lot more people this year,” said Lee referring to the regular season. “We broke in a lot of pitchers.”
Kodiak also has plenty of offensive punch. There were three home runs hit during the regular season — two by Nevin Lee and another by Barton.
“They are hitting,” Lee said.
Taj DeVries, Thomas Evans, Anders Hocum, Jake Horn, Jayden Pavloff, Garrick Schauff and Ryan Walker round out Kodiak’s roster. Les James and Neil Horn assist Lee.
Lee said the team learned a lot from last year’s tournament.
“They were freaked out because they were playing against kids that were six-feet tall,” Lee said. “What really freaked them out was the second baseman from City View had a full mustache.”
As for the 1982 team, Lee knows most of the players and talks about that squad with his team.
“I just tell them that team played together everyday like you guys,” Lee said. “They were a bunch of bad news bears.”
In 1982, Kodiak beat Juneau in the state championship series and came close to advancing to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The team, led by future professional Clifford Anderson, lost to eventual Little League World Series champion Kirkland, Washington, 6-5, in a Western Region semifinal game.
“Let’s hope that they can match that team,” Lee said.
Contact Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.
Kodiak pool play schedule
July 7 — vs. Nunaka Valley-City, 6:15 p.m.
July 8 — vs. Knik, 6:30 p.m.
July 10 — vs. Anchorage Military, 6:30 p.m.
July 11 — vs. Palmer, 6:15 p.m.