• Hannah LaRue logs a no-hitter, while Miranda Beach pummels pitches at the plate
By Sean Pearson
Any doubts about the power and performance of Homer’s high school softball team were quickly erased last week as the Lady M squad dominated opponents in five regular-season wins.
Certainly outscoring your opponents by 88 runs makes for a pretty strong argument that Homer bats are hot and hitters hearty. Back that up with a 71-15 hit ratio, and there’s very little doubt about their offensive prowess.
Now, let’s talk defense.
Obviously, any time your pitching crew can hold opponents to an average of three hits per game, your odds of winning increase dramatically. Lady Mariner fielders logged only two errors in their five games, while opponents were hampered with 33.
Homer opened last week’s play against the Skyview Panthers on Tuesday. The game stayed relatively close in the first two innings — and then Mariner bats came alive. A 10-run third inning secured the 14-1 win for Homer, thanks in part to heavy hitting by senior Miranda Beach and freshman McKinzie Needham. Both logged two hits for the game, and Needham drove in three runs.
Hannah LaRue was the winning pitcher.
LaRue dominated the mound against the Soldotna Stars in Homer’s next conference match-up. Consistent bats had the Lady M’s scoring in each inning, while LaRue picked up the shutout. She threw 53 pitches, 36 of which were strikes.
Beach had another strong showing at the plate, driving in four runs, while Kayla Hutt picked up a double. Katie Kirsis added two RBIs.
Things turned even more lopsided on Friday as the M’s traveled to take on the Houston Hawks, and scored 15 runs in the first inning on their way to a 27-0 win. Needham picked up the win on the mound, while Pam Jantzi earned the save.
LaRue stepped up to the task of hitting against the Lady Hawks, grabbing a double and a triple to reel in four RBIs. Sister Maggie added two doubles, while Kirsis picked up five RBIs.
Game two of Homer’s Friday doubleheader against Houston was much like the first, as the Lady M’s again picked up 27 runs — this time on 20 hits. Hannah LaRue logged a no-hitter, as well as helping out her cause on the mound with two doubles and two RBIs. Kirsis picked up five more RBIs, while Hutt added three.
“I was really happy and proud of how our team played this weekend,” Beach said of the team’s performance. “We played well in the Houston games and got to practice some situations and try out people in different positions.”
Saturday’s nonconference game against Wasilla started off somewhat promisingly for the Warriors, as Homer had just a 1-0 lead after three innings. However, Homer bats came alive in the fourth inning, and the Lady Mariners scored nine runs in the next three innings.
Beach dominated the batter’s box, hammering four hits, including a triple and home run. She picked up six RBIs to help Homer to a 10-2 victory.
“I was really excited with my hitting this weekend,” Beach said. “I think a lot of things just fell into place for me. Joel Pietsch has been helping with our hitting, and I know that has helped me a lot.”
Beach said the Wasilla game was a big win for the Lady M’s, because the Warriors are part of the large-school division.
“Anytime we have the chance to prove ourselves against the higher competition is really great,” she said. “At this point in the season, I think we’re doing great. We’re hitting hard, fielding well, and we have rock-solid pitching. We just continue to focus on improving our game.”
Hannah LaRue picked up the win, logging eight strikeouts in six innings. She threw 79 pitches, 59 of which were strikes. The win improved the Mariners to 9-2 overall.
The Lady Mariners host Soldotna this evening at 6 p.m. and Kenai on Thursday at 4 p.m. They then travel to Anchorage to face East High School at 6 p.m., before returning to host Service on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Pick up a Homer Tribune newspaper to see the Box Scores.
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