Mariner softball team outplays Skyview, 14-1

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.

Skyview scored its sole run in the fourth inning.

“We started a little slow, and began picking it up in the second inning,” said Homer Coach Bill Bell. “Once we started hitting we couldn’t stop.”

Skyview’s Demery Garrett was 1-for-2, Molly Hughes went 2-for-2 and pitcher Sam Reynolds was 1-for-2.

Tuesday’s win followed a mixed bag of wins and losses for the Lady Mariner softball team after traveling to Sitka last weekend to play six games in a non-league, opening season tournament. 

Homer won four games, losing twice to the hosting and defending Champion Sitka Wolves in games with state championship implications already in the season. 

The Mariners opened the season against Juneau’s Thunder Mountain Falcons on Friday. The Mainers’ bats came alive early, in a 7-4 win in what was a breakout game for Homer’s Maggie Larue. Larue went 2-3 batting and led her team with two RBIs in the game. Sister and teammate Hannah Larue pitched a complete game, throwing 50 strikes and contributing offensively, reaching base safely twice. 

Later that day, Homer took on the Kodiak Bears with no trouble, riding the momentum of their previous game to a 9-3 victory. Hannah Larue hit the Mariners’ first triple of the year which was followed by an outburst of hits, leading to seven points in the second inning alone. Larue shared pitching duties with Pamela Jantzi as they both threw just over 40 pitches, each landing over 30 of them for strikes.

Homer’s last game of the evening had them taking on the hometown Wolves in what head Coach Bill Bell called a “torrential downpour.” Nearly 2 inches of rain soaked into Sitka’s turf field but the show went on as freshman McKi Needham got the pitching call for Homer. 

The game was tied at 2 in the first inning thanks to the bats of Hannah LaRue and Miranda Beach. The Wolves managed to send one runner home in each of the next four innings to slowly secure the game. Despite a full pitching performance from Needham, Sitka won 6-2. 

“The team really needed to get out on the field to start thinking in game situations and get used to throwing the ball around at game speed,” said Bell. “Even though we practice that all the time, there is not that extra layer of adrenaline.”

On Saturday, the Mariners took on the Wolves in a rematch in which the Mariners rallied five points in just the last two innings, coming up just one run short in an 8-7 Wolves win.  Larue threw another 73 pitches in her effort. Senior Katie Kirsis did all that she could offensively, finding her way on base five times, and stealing two bases. 

The Mariners later avenged their loss by beating the Kodiak Bears 8-3. A back and forth game had the lead changing seven times in the early stages before Homer bats came alive and rallied for five straight points in the second inning. LaRue pitched for another win with efficiency, landing 53 percent of her pitches for strikes. 

The Lady Mariners finished on Saturday with a battle of the bats victory over Thunder Mountain. Homer won 12-10 with active hits as Hannah Larue, Maggie Larue, Miranda Beach, Katie Kirsis and Kayla Morrison came together for 10 runs batted in. Jantzi got the pitching start with relief from Needham. Larue closed the game for Homer to assure the win. 

Coach Bell enjoyed his team’s performance saying, “This tournament was everything I hoped for as a way to start the season.”

The Peninsula Clarion contributed to this report.