By Sean Pearson
After slipping into a relatively deep 0-13 record at the beginning of the season, the Lady Mariner softball team dug in, buckled down and started getting back to Homer’s usual level of softball play.
The Lady M’s made short work of the visiting Eagle River Wolves on Friday, blasting by them in a 16-2 blowout in the evening’s opening game.
Homer needed only four innings to take control of the game — thanks in large part to solid hitting from freshman Lauren Kuhns and sophomore Riley Walls.
The Wolves jumped out to an early lead, picking up two runs in the top of the first inning, but Homer answered quickly — and very decidedly — with four runs in the bottom of the first, and another eight runs in the second.
Four more Mariner runs in the third inning sealed Eagle River’s fate, and the Lady M’s came away with the win.
Walls led the Mariners, hitting 3 for 4, with two RBIs and two runs. Kuhns picked up two hits and four RBIs, while McKi Needham had two hits. Maggie Larue added three RBIs.
Pam Jantzi pitched the full game, giving up only four hits and no earned runs. She struck out five Eagle River batters.
In game 2, Homer bats were again on fire, burning the Wolves with nine runs in the first inning. Eagle River only managed to pick up two hits off pitcher Jordan Raymond, and committed three fielding errors.
LaRue and Walls were both 2 for 2, with LaRue picking up four RBIs. Brenna Evarts went 2 for 3, adding three RBIs and scored two runs of her own.
Raymond pitched three full innings, giving up two hits. She logged eight strikeouts, before Needham took the mound to pitch a perfect final inning, striking out all three batters she faced.
The Lady M’s ended the game with a 12-0 shutout, in four innings.
Homer’s record improves to 5-13, and the team travels to Soldotna to take on the Stars today (Wednesday) at 6 p.m.
The team heads to Kodiak on Friday, facing the Lady Bears in a total of four games over two days.
With the season more than half over, Kuhns leads the team with a .517 batting average, picking up 15 hits and five RBIs in 29 at-bats. Teammate Needham is right on her heels with a .513 average. So far, Needham has logged 20 hits and five RBIs in 39 trips to the plate.
Speedy junior Maggie LaRue leads the team with 19 stolen bases and a perfect fielding average in 16 games played. Raymond, and sophomore Isabel Beach have also played error-free ball throughout the season.
Homer hosts Kenai for the Lady Mariners’ final home game of the season. The game — which also recognizes graduating seniors on the team — will take place on May 27 at 4 p.m.
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