Softball sharpens game against large schools
May 18th 7:50 pm | Sean Pearson
Lady M's remain undefeated as post-season play looms
Last spring, Homer High School coach Bill Bell lost five softball seniors to graduation. For many coaches, that's a good time to start throwing around phrases like "rebuilding year" and "program development" when the next season comes along. Not Bell.
Who knew a bunch of fledgling freshmen would step up and fill the fairly large shoes left behind by players like McKi Needham and Maggie Larue?
Apparently he did.
The Lady Mariner regular season is beginning to wind down — a season that started less than a month ago — and the M's have pretty much skated through their schedule with a 10-2 record. Homer fell in non-conference games against large schools Colony and Palmer. The Mariners edged Palmer 11-1 at home in late April, but fell 8-16 to the Moose in Anchorage on May 5.
Homer is currently undefeated in Northern Lights Conference play, and has outscored opponents 155-42 in their 10 wins. That comes as no surprise, however, when five of your players are batting .500 or over.
After routing Houston 14-1 in four innings last Thursday, the Lady Mariners made short work of Kodiak in Friday and Saturday games at Jack Gist Park. A seven-run first inning put the M's out of Bear's reach early in game one. A Mary Hana Bowe home run was just one of 10 Homer hits that helped the M's to the 13-1 win.
Saturday saw much of the same, as the Mariners used a big 10-run third inning to blow by the Bears 15-3. Annali Metz pitched a complete game, giving up two earned runs and three hits over four innings.
And Homer hitting just continued to improve, with doubles from Malina Fellows, Elsie Smith and Briana Hetrick.
The Lady Mariners traveled to Soldotna on Monday to face the Stars in a conference game that remained fairly close through the first four innings.
SoHi scored in the top of the first, but their 1-0 lead was the last — and only — lead of the game. Homer answered with two runs in the bottom of the first, and after five full innings, the Mariners held an 8-3 lead.
And then their bats warmed up.
A 10-run sixth inning left no room for doubt in the Mariners' 18-3 victory. Homer slugged out 15 hits in the game, with Bowe, Fellows and freshman Rylee Doughty each contributing three RBIs.
Annalynn Brown picked up the win for the Lady M's. Brown pitched six innings, giving up five hits and three runs. She walked one batter and struck out seven.
Lady Mariner runners stole 12 bases against the Stars, Bowe leads the hitting for Homer with 20 hits, three home runs and a remarkable .571 batting average. Metz isn't far behind with her 14 hits and .538 average. Doughty currently bats .524.
Homer travels to Anchorage this weekend to face East and Service high schools. Bell hopes the challenge against the large schools will get the Lady M's to sharpen their game before hosting the Northern Lights Conference Tournament at Jack Gist Park on May 26-27.