Almost two weeks after the scheduled start, the Homer Mariner baseball team opened their season. Sunny skies, warm temperatures and a beautiful field in Kenai set the stage for a winning afternoon and evening.
Pitcher Zach Haning scattered seven hits and gave up only one run, leading the Homer Mariners to a 4-1 victory over the Kenai Kardinals on May 8. Haning struck out seven Kenai batters and gave up only one walk in a strong complete-game pitching performance in the Mariners’ first game of the season.
The Homer Lady Mariners dominated on the road last weekend, shutting out the Houston Hawks twice by scores of 27-0 in a Friday doubleheader, and picking up a 10-2 win on Saturday against the Wasilla Warriors.
Friday’s inaugural Valley game showed the Mariner bat speed early as they tallied 15 runs in the first inning alone. Senior Hannah LaRue led the offense with a single, double and a triple, which brought four runs across the plate in an offensive performance that was just a home-run shy of hitting for the cycle.
The Mariner boys and girls soccer teams ended the regular season with back-to-back home games of mixed emotions. Friday’s senior night honored 10 graduating players, while the team honored themselves with wins against Palmer.
Lady Mariners 1; Moose 0
Colony 3; Mariners 0
The Lady Mariners won 1-0 against the Moose making it goalkeeper Zoia Basargin’s first shutout game.
After a successful Region III Championship meet held at Nikiski High School, the Homer Mariners are sending 14 athletes to compete in 25 events this weekend at the Alaska State Track and Field Championships at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks.
During last weekend’s Regional Championships, Anchorage Christian School boys claimed first place with a team total of 133 points. The Mariner men followed in sixth place with 44 points.
The Mariners finally got out on the diamond for a game on Wednesday in Kenai, and beat the Kardinals 4-1 to start their official baseball season.
Brian Rowe came up big by boing 4-for-4, followed by Tommy Bowe going 2-for-2 and Lucas Schneider going 2-for-3.
Kenai’s lone run came in the fourth inning when Ethan Oliver scored on a double from Dallas Pierren.
“(Kenai coach) John Kennedy always puts together a team that is fundamentally sound, but we played great defense and had great pitching from Zach Haning,” Homer Coach Lary Kuhns said.
The Kachemak Swim Club traveled to Kenai last weekend for the last meet of the season. There were 138 athletes participating in the event, with 36 of them from Homer.
The KSC’s boys team placed first with 222 points; the girls team placed fourth with 98 points. Five teams participated in each division.
Clayton Arndt, in the 11-12-year-old division, led the KSC swimmers in points with 28. Arndt had six first-place finishes. Griffin Downey placed second in the same division with 19 points.
More than 1,000 wrestlers packed into Wasilla’s Menard Sports Complex last weekend for three days of state tournament action. Homer’s Popeye Wrestling Club finished their season earning 43 medals throughout the ranks of their 35 competitors.
Junior Calvin Johnson led the pack, becoming Homer’s only Triple Crown Winner, defeating North Star’s Aaron Drake three times in the three days of competition. Drake placed third in the high school wrestling season in the same weight class (113 pounds) as Johnson.
The Lady Mariners wasted little time on Tuesday, rallying for 10 runs in a single inning to defeat the Soldotna Stars 14-1 at Homer’s Jack Gist field.
The game ended after four innings due to the 90-minute time limit. The final score was Homer 14, Skyview 1.
Hannah Larue pitched for Homer and only allowed four hits and one run, and getting four strikeouts.
Homer’s Kayla Hutt and Addie Davis both hit 2-for-2, while McKi Needham went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI, and Becky Graham was 2-for-3.
The Mariners boys and girls soccer team dominated Kenai Peninsula rival Nikiski for two shutouts at the first home game of the season last Thursday.
The Lady Mariners won 3-0 with a scoreless first half. Senior Hope Hudson scored the first goal to exploding cheers from the sidelines.
“We definitely did better in the second half,” said Hudson.
Teammate Maggie Koplin agreed. “We stepped it up. We had better passing and more communication,” said Koplin.
The Homer Mariners and Huskies collectively hosted the 2013 Kenai Peninsula Borough Finals on Friday and Saturday at the Homer High School track. The track drew12 other schools from the peninsula’s middle and high school’s track and field talent.
The girls team of the Homer Middle School Huskies showed their young talent, finishing Saturday’s finals action with a first place team score of 167, more than 20 points above second place Kenai Middle School.
The Mariner boys and girls soccer teams started the season on the right foot with dual shutout games against Houston on Friday. The girls dominated Houston 8-0 and the boys followed suit with an 11-0 win.
“It’s always good to score in the first game of the season,” said Head Girls Coach Mickey Todd.
The teams traveled to the Valley for a mixed bag in field conditions. The Houston game was hosted on Colony’s new turf field — a bittersweet luxury, according to Todd.
Although Homer’s debut track and field meet was canceled April 19-20 due to icy conditions, the Mariners were able to show off their brand new track last Saturday by hosting the Skyview Invite. Originally scheduled for Skyview High School, the Mariners hosted 10 other teams from around Alaska on short notice because some midweek snow melt settled on the Skyview track, forcing the meet to be moved.
Baseball season. Feels good just to say it, right?
While a true summer has yet to arrive, the high school baseball season is preparing to begin its first games, in which Homer, Kenai Central and Soldotna will find out exactly who is the top Kenai Peninsula team.
The three teams will attempt to fit into two state berths from the Northern Lights Conference. Last year, only Kenai made the cut. The Kardinals won once in three games en route to a fifth-place finish.
Less than six weeks from now, the state high school softball tournament will begin. The Lady Mariner softball team, led by longtime Coach Bill Bell, officially kicks off its season today with games against the Kenai Kardinals in Kenai. The JV team is set to play at 4 p.m., with the varsity game at 6 p.m.
The team has its sights on another shot at the State Championship.
Having made it to the state tournament 12 out of the last 13 years, Coach Bell notes "winning" as the goal for a team that seems to improve throughout the season every year.
After 16 years of coaching the Homer High School Mariner football team, Head Coach Camron Wyatt has decided to focus his attention in other areas. This also wraps up six years of working with the Mariner team for Assistant Coach Pete Swanson.
Currently teaching social studies, auto shop and wood shop, Wyatt laughingly said he has discovered the role of being a parent doesn't end when children leave home.
Mitch Wyatt, 2011 Alaska State Champion wrestler and 2011 Homer High School graduate, has been named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic second team as a part-time starter this year for the University of Colorado Mesa Mavericks. The Redshirt freshman wrestles at 174 pounds and earned a 10-12 record this season for the Division II School. Working toward a degree in exercise science, Wyatt holds a 3.88 GPA. While in Homer, he was a three-time Alaska State placer and three-time regional champion.
The Homer Invite will not happen this weekend.
“There’s maybe about 15 meters of ice that could just not thaw out. There’s 30 meters of clear sailing that are perfectly dry, but about five or six inches of ice on parts of the track,” said Homer High School Head Track Coach Bill Steyer.
It was hoped the Invite would be the inaugural event for the new track.
“We had 12 teams signed up, including teams from outside of the district,” said Steyer. “People are starting to get word of our track.”
Nine months of serious swimming has paid off for 10 of Homer’s best swimmers who leave next weekend for Anchorage to compete in the biggest swimming meet in the state, Junior Olympics at Bartlett High School.
“We start in September and go until April. It’s at least three hours of swim practice five days a week and even more during the high school season,” said 14-year-old Lauren Kuhns.
The Homer Mariner Track and Field team took to the Dome in Anchorage last Friday and Saturday for The Big C Relays.
In the midst of many great individual and team performances, Junior Tayla Cabana took second place out of six athletes in the girl’s pentathlon as the only Mariner to compete in the event.
The Mariners boys soccer team has started the season with a few injured limbs, but the hope is the healing will finish before the snow melts. The team of 36 boys started its first official day of practice March 25.
“Practice ends at 8 p.m., but when the boys heard the gym was going to be open later, they stayed. It is 8:40 p.m. now and these boys are just wrapping up. It proves that they are eager and excited for the season,” said Head Coach Warren Waldorf on the first day of practice.