Homer survives 1st day of state softball tourney

  • By Staff Report
  • Friday, June 5, 2015 11:06pm
  • Sports

The Homer Mariners softball squad is down, but not out.

Homer split a pair of games on Friday, the opening day of the state softball tournament at South Davis Park Complex in Fairbanks. Homer lost its first game with Sitka 9-1, but rallied back to claim a 14-9 slugfest over Hutchison.

The results leave Homer with a 9 a.m. matchup with North Pole, the new Mid Alaskan Conference champions, who was toppled by Sitka earlier on Friday. The loser of Saturday morning’s game will see its season end.

In Friday’s first game, Sitka banged out 17 hits to Homer’s five, but the game remained a scoreless staredown until the fifth inning, when Elle Gray grounded out to Mariners shortstop Riley Walls, which scored Sidney Riggs for the first run of the game.

Following a scoreless at-bat for Homer at the bottom of the fifth, Riggs opened the floodgates in the sixth with a grounder that brought Kalene Koeling in to score, and was followed by a big double by Gray that plated Riggs and Hailey Denkinger, putting Sitka ahead 4-0. From there, Meaghan Way and Kyla Young hit two fly doubles. Ultimately, the inning ended with six runs by Sitka and Homer facing a daunting task. 

Gray led the Wolves with 5 RBI on 3-for-5 hitting, while Denkinger went 4 for 4. Overall, Denkinger and Gray combined for nine hits.

Izabelle Hagge scored Homer’s lone run in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single from Kyla Pitzman. Pitzman finished 2 for 3 with an RBI to lead the Homer offense. Maggie LaRue, Kelly Liebers and Walls each added a hit apiece.

Zoe Krupa earned the win in the pitching circle with a complete game, giving up five hits, one earned run and striking out seven. 

McKi Needham went 5 2-3 innings for Homer with 16 hits, five earned runs, two walks and one strikeout. Pam Jantzi finished up with one hit, two runs, two walks and one strikeout.

In the second game Friday, runs came much quicker. Homer took a 3-2 lead over Hutchison after one inning with help from a line drive double by Needham that scored LaRue and Walls. Needham then was brought home by a bunt by Fellows. Homer added a run in the second and four in the third to grab an 8-2 lead.

The Mariners expanded their lead to 11-3 at one point, but the Hawks answered with three runs apiece in the fifth and sixth innings.

After Hutch closed the gap to 12-9 with a 3-run homer by Duffield in the bottom of the sixth, Jacobs grounded out to end the inning.

In the final inning, Needham grounded out to bring LaRue in to score, and Walls scored on a wild pitch.

The leading hitter of the 28-hit game — which included nine extra-base hits — was Larsen Fellows, who fell one home run short of the cycle with two singles, a double and a triple to end up 4 for 4 with two RBI. LaRue hit 3 for 3, Walls went 2 for 5, and Needham went 2 for 5 with three RBI.

On defense, Needham earned the win by going the distance, giving up 14 hits, seven earned runs, one walk and four strikeouts.

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