• Lady M’s play final home game against Kodiak on Thursday
By Sean Pearson
The Homer Lady Mariners kept fairly busy last week, cramming six games of softball into four days in an effort to getting some playing time in before the regular season ends.
The Lady M’s started with a 8-0 Northern Lights Conference win over the Soldotna Stars last Wednesday. The victory extended Homer’s winning streak to eight games.
Hannah LaRue pitched the entire game for Homer, striking out six SoHi players. McKi Needham went 2-for-2 to lead Homer, while teammate Maggie LaRue picked up two runs and a triple. Senior shortstop Miranda Beach added a triple of her own.
Homer moved on to host Kenai on Thursday, and dominated the Kardinals with consistent hitting throughout the game. The M’s opened with two first-inning runs, and then added seven more in the top of the second. For Kenai, it was all downhill from there.
Hannah LaRue was again the winning pitcher for Kenai Homer, and helped out her cause with two hits and two RBIs. Teammate Kyla Pitzman added two hits and three RBIs.
On Friday, the Lady M’s picked up their first losses of the season against East Anchorage, dropping their doubleheader 0-14 and 1-10.
The Thunderbirds came out strong, scoring four runs in both the first and second innings, and adding five more in the third. McKi Needham would pick up Homer’s only hit in the game that saw six Lady M’s strike out. Defensively, Homer gave up 15 hits and committed four errors in the non-conference loss.
The Lady Mariners managed to punch out five hits in their second game against East, but still fell 1-10 in five innings. Solid hitting from Katie Kirsis and a double from Beach weren’t enough to offset the 11 Homer batters who struck out.
“It was good for us to get out there and play East, because they really are that good,” Hannah LaRue said. “They give us something different to look at when all we’ve seen are the Peninsula teams.”
LaRue said the second game against East was better because the Lady M’s didn’t commit as many errors and hit the ball better.
“I’ve been kind of off this season with my hitting,” she said. “I wasn’t seeing the ball very well and thus getting bad contact.”
This comes from someone who is hitting .500 with 20 hits and 13 RBIs so far this season.
Saturday started out a little rough again for the Lady M’s, as they opened against Service High School and struggled defensively. Homer outhit the Cougars 12-6, and scored 13 runs, but committed nine errors to let the Cougars slip by with the14-13 win.
Hannah LaRue picked up three hits, two of them triples, and knocked in two Homer runs. Kirsis punched out two hits and three RBIs, while
Kayla Hutt and Needham each added two hits.
“I got my bat back in the game against Service, so that felt great,” Hannah LaRue said.
The Lady M’s got things back under control in their second game against the Cougars, pummeling them 15-6. Mikayla Morrison led with three hits and four RBIs, and Hannah LaRue picked up another three hits. Kirsis, Hutt and Pam Jantzi each added two hits in the Mariners’ win.
Leading the way for Homer hitters are Kirsis and Beach. Both are hitting .522 with 24 hits. Kirsis edged Beach in RBIs, picking up 25 to Beach’s 24. But Beach is the only Lady Mariner to hit a home run so far this season. Maggie LaRue is batting .486 with 17 hits and 11 RBIs, while Needham sits at .484 with 15 hits and 16 RBIs.
Kirsis leads the team in stolen bases with 18.
The Lady Mariners travel to Soldotna to take on Skyview Wednesday afternoon, before returning to host Kodiak on Thursday at 6 p.m. Their final regular-season game will be at Kenai on Saturday at noon.
Hannah LaRue said she is feeling confident on the mound and isn’t scared that the other team will hit.
“I know I have a fantastic defense behind me,” she said. “We are really looking forward to going to State.”
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