By JIM STEARNS
The Homer Little League White Sox (Major Division) came home from Soldotna on Saturday, June 24, wearing championship medals from the Soldotna tournament with Kenai, Soldotna and Homer Little Leagues all sending two or more teams.
It was a week of close, hard-fought games that provided plenty of nail-biting moments for all the Homer parents and fans.
In the opening game against the Kenai Buckets, the White Sox went into their last at bat down 4-2. With a run in, two out and runners on second and third, Zander Moore drove a game winner into right field providing a walk off 5-4 win.
In the second game, the White Sox faced the Soldotna Mariners, a team that had earlier in the season come to Homer and soundly defeated the Sox on their home field. Against the Mariners, the White Sox jumped out to a quick lead behind the strong pitching of Malachi Raymond, but Mariner pitching shut down the Sox bats and the Mariners crept back into the game.
Cam Wise came in to shut down the rallying Mariners and finally closed out the game with the tying and winning runs on base. The score was again 5-4.
In the championship game the task of facing the daunting Soldotna Red Sox loomed large. The Red Sox had recently beaten the Mariners by 18 runs and had landed in the championship with a 21-1 rout of their opponent in the semi-finals game.
Behind dominant pitching and some strong hitting the Red Sox jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead and the game appeared to be slipping away. Behind the gritty pitching of Mylan Johnson and Zavier Hayes, some outstanding defense and heady at bats, the White Sox fought their way back into the game, finally prevailing 9-7 with Cam Wise providing a big sixth-inning, bases-loaded double down the left field line to bring the Sox the lead.
The White Sox’ depth of pitching, solid defense, savvy base running, timely batting, gritty determination and overall team work provided just enough in a tough tournament to bring home a rare and well deserved Majors little league championship to Homer.