During their first week of games, the Mariner softball team sent a clear message to conference competition: beware.
In their opening game April 28, the Mariners stomped out Kenai 21-0. This past weekend they fought off tough competition from Chugiak, splitting Saturday’s double header, and coming away with Homer’s first win over the Anchorage team in recent history. And Monday night, the Mariners’ early success solidified into a pattern when they mowed down Soldotna, 19-1.
With nine returning seniors, the Mariner baseball team will take to the field Tuesday in their opening game against Kenai with strength, speed and experience.
Rich Sonnen, the Mariners’ head coach and father of senior co-captain J.J. Sonnen, has coached many of the players through Little League since they were 4-years-old. He says the skill and drive his experienced players bring to the field bodes well for the team’s success this season.
“This is our best shot we’ve had in a while,” he said.
Despite recent wintry weather, the Mariner softball team has launched into spring. The team kicks off its season on Tuesday with a conference game against SoHi in Soldotna.
Last week the players could be found on the east corner of the Homer High School turf field, practicing fielding around a makeshift diamond. As the neon ball flew from one base to the next, words of encouragement followed close behind.
Positivity, the players explained, is integral to the team’s ethos and strategy.
The Lady Mariners’ end-of-season winning streak stalled out at the state championships in Anchorage last weekend, with losses to Hutchison and ACS bringing the Region III Champions’ eventful season to a close.
“They were crushed,” said the Mariners’ head coach, Chad Felice, of his players after their first loss to Hutchison on Thursday night, which sent Homer into the consolation bracket to fight for fourth place. “But that was from the high expectations we put on ourselves, to win the tournament,” he said.
For the first time in nine years, the Lady Mariners, recently crowned as the 2015 Region III champions, are gearing up for the 3A State tournament, which kicks off today at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.
Over their spring break, the Mariners could be found in the gym, buckling down to fine tune their skills in the lead up to their final weekend of competition, but also having a lot of fun.
Libby Roderick, the Anchorage-based folk singer/songwriter and environmental activist who will perform March 26 at the Kachemak Bay Conservation Society’s annual meeting, fights for change by singing love songs.
Razor clamming, the muddy, yet popular sport that attracts thousands of visiting and local outdoor enthusiasts to the lower Kenai Peninsula’s beaches each year, has been prohibited on the east side of Cook Inlet for the remainder of 2015. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the measure in an emergency order last week. The affected area spans from the mouth of the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit.
March 11, 2015: In the photo, the name of Mariner player no. 32 has been corrected; he is Jeremy Tedesco.
In their final weekend of regular season games, the Mariners took on Grace Christian, Anchorage Christian School and Houston at home in a series of nail-biting contests that were decided in the final seconds of play.
The Mariners defeated the Seward Seahawks on home turf last Saturday, boosting the boys to a third place conference ranking in basketball and the girls to fourth in the final countdown to Regions.
Skiing over tracks of man-made snow across otherwise grassy fields, the Homer High School Mariner skiers raced to the finish of their 2015 season at the state championship last weekend at Kincaid Park in Anchorage.
The Mariner girls were awarded for their efforts on and off the snow, taking home first place for highest combined grade point average, with a cumulative team average of 3.94, as well as an overall first place girls finish amongst smaller, 2A-3A schools.
Mariner senior captain Aspen Daigle led her team with a 10th place personal finish at the Region III cross-country skiing championships last weekend at the Government Peak trails in Hatcher’s Pass, near Palmer.
The team pushed off on tracked, well-groomed trails for a 5K classic race on Friday, and again on Saturday for 5 and 7.5K free-style loops. The Mariner girls placed fifth, the boys sixth, overall.
The Mariners had a weekend, after battling through nail-biting basketball games against Klawock boys and Nikiski girls and sweeping the Winter Carnival Tournament.
The home tournament attracted teams from as far away as Southeast and Fairbanks and pitted five competitors against each other in three days of round-robin play.
After a season of improvising, the Mariners demonstrated their skiing prowess at Boroughs competition in Soldotna Feb. 5, with top-10 finishes for both boys and girls and a third-place team finish over all.
The skies were clear and the temperatures in the mid-teens as the skiers lined up for an afternoon mass start. Coaches and volunteers arrived earlier to assess the course and wax the Mariners’ skis to match the dry, granular snow with conditions better than expected.
The Mariners were met with big crowds and tough competition last weekend at the Husky Shootout basketball tournament in Kotzebue, with the girls bringing home wins against Nome and Kotzebue, and the boys defeating Point Hope.
The Mariner skiers, who have spent this snow-poor season improvising, are scheduled to do it again this weekend at Boroughs in yet another ad hoc race.
The race is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, at the K-Beach Road entrance to the Tsalteshi ski trails in Soldotna.
Race organizers are planning a duathlon-style race, with skiers switching from skate to classic gear half way through the race.
The Mariners took on the last three remaining teams in their region in Anchorage last weekend with a trio of hard-fought basketball games against Grace, Anchorage Christian and Houston. The Mariner boys lost to Grace and ACS after two tight games Thursday and Friday, claiming a victory over Houston on Saturday. The girls, who pulled off three late-game comebacks to keep themselves in each competition, lost all three games by four points each.
The Mariner ski team took to the snow at the Colony Invite at Government Peak ski trails in Palmer last weekend, racing at their first competitive event in six weeks. The team, which has been forced to muster grit, resilience and an unrelenting positive attitude this season in order to combat the measly snow fall, was elated to be back competing in their sport.
“Their morale is unquenchable,” said Gus Beck, the Mariners’ assistant coach.
The Mariners matched up against Seward last Friday for the second time this season, the boys taking home their second victory over the Seahawks and the girls losing another close, hard-fought game. To the coaches and the crowds, however, both contests showed significant improvement in cohesive team play for the Mariners over the past month.
The Mariner boys, who beat Seward by only one point in late December, led Friday’s game from the first quarter to finish with a significant 59-42 victory.
In an effort to raise some much-needed cash, the Mariner basketball teams resorted to a tried-and-true combination at Saturday’s Meet the Mariners fundraising event: public humiliation and sugar.
“This thing is heavy,” said senior Paul Trowbridge, a large carrot cake teetering precariously in his right hand.
“Look at it. This is the moistest carrot cake in the state.”
The rink was abustle last weekend as 95 women from around the state took to the ice for the annual Homer Winter Jamboree. The tournament was hosted by the Divas, Homer’s adult women’s hockey league, and featured a mixed team design, shuffling players of all abilities from Homer, Anchorage, Kenai, Juneau, and Talkeetna onto eight teams of roughly equal skill level. Each team played three preliminary games on Friday and Saturday, and based on their win-loss record faced off against a fourth opponent to place on Sunday morning.