Opening day of the Division II state softball tournament saw the Homer Mariners go 1-1 in pool play, which sorted all teams into the final championship bracket.
Held at the South Davis Park Complex in Fairbanks, Homer escaped with a 3-2 win over Delta Junction before dropping a 23-1 loss to Ketchikan.
The split showing placed the Mariners into a noon matchup Friday against Kodiak, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Thunder Mountain at 2:30 p.m.
The Homer-Kodiak contest is a rematch of last week’s Northern Lights Conference championship, which Homer won 8-3.
In the 3-2 win over Delta, Homer took a three-run lead before staving off the Huskies in the last two innings.
Annalynn Brown twirled a tight game in the pitching circle, whiffing six batters in seven shutout innings, and giving up two runs on seven hits and one walk in an orderly 82 pitches.
In a remarkable display of savvy baserunning, Homer’s Haylee Owen scored twice on steals of home plate to score the Mariners’ first two runs. Owen led off the fourth with a single, then made her way around the basepaths with three steals to give Homer a 1-0 advantage.
In the top of the sixth, Owen again singled to get on base, then got to second on a bad throw and got to third on a single from Grace Godfrey, before stealing home again. Godfrey also made it home on a steal to put Homer ahead 3-0.
Delta attempted a comeback with a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the sixth that scored a run and an RBI double by Ashley Brevard in the seventh, but couldn’t finish it off as Brown struck out and lined out the last two batters.
Owen ended up hitting 2 for 3, as did Godfrey and Aspen Walli. Godfrey’s day included a two-out triple in the first.
In the 23-1 loss to Ketchikan, a three-inning affair that ended via mercy rule, Kings pitcher Jenna Miller spun a no-hitter in the shortened game. Miller allowed three walks to Homer and did give up a run while notching one strikeout in the 43-pitch outing.
On offense, Ketchikan ripped off seven runs in the first inning, then sent 15 batters to the plate in a nine-run second to stake out a commanding 16-1 lead. Ketchikan finished the day with 17 base hits, led by Miller’s 4-for-4 outing with four RBIs. Also for the Kings, Dyllan Borer went 3 for 4 with four RBIs.
Brown again started for Homer but was pulled with one out in the second inning. Brown was tagged with eight earned runs on four hits and five walks, while getting one strikeout. Becca Chapman also gave up eight runs in 2/3 innings of relief and Brianna Hetrick let through seven runs in one inning.
Homer’s lone run came in the bottom of the first when Brown led off with a walk, then scored on a steal of home with two outs on the board. Owen and Elizabeth Love were the only other Mariners to get on base with walks.