The Homer girls softball team nabbed two wins Friday at the opening day of the ASAA state tournament at Cartee Fields in Anchorage to grab a shot at the state crown Saturday.
The Mariners started the day off with a dominant 8-3 win over Ketchikan, a team that would later go on to beat Soldotna in the loser’s bracket.
Homer coach Bill Bell said the team performed well and is excited for Saturday.
“We were back and forth and it was a really tight game at the beginning, we had people on base in the first three innings that weren’t able to get across,” Bell said. “We got the first unearned run with a fly to left field that dropped in, and that opened the floodgates.”
Kayla Hutt hit a scorching home run, her only hit of the game, that allowed two runs in the third inning, and Homer kept the momentum rolling.
“Everybody was coming through with clutch hits and beautiful bunts, and life was good,” Bell said.
Miranda Beach also had a run and two RBIs to lead Homer along with Hutt, and Katie Kirsis and Hannah Larue both went 2 for 4, with Larue also racking up one triple, one double and three RBIs. Larue also pitched three strikeouts.
Bell mentioned that Larue was injured on two separate occasions, colliding at the plate and hurting her ankle, but said she is a game time decision for Saturday and will likely be ready to play.
“It’s a little tough, but I know she can do it, so we’ll see how she will do,” Bell said.
In the later game, Homer punched out a 10-5 win over Eielson.
“I’m very satisfied with the effort,” Bell said. “We have good hitting throughout the order, there’s really no place that we let down.”
Eielson managed a 1-0 lead at the conclusion of the first inning, but Homer recorded three consecutive innings with three runs each, putting the Mariners up 9-2 after four innings.
Once again, Hutt proved to be the difference, as her double in the second inning broke the dam for Homer. Her double paved the way for two runs, coming from Brooke DeVaney and Kirsis.
Bell said the Mariners’ strength is the depth of their batting lineup.
“They see our No. 9 hitter come out and they expect an easy out, and she drills it to the fence," he said.
Beach, Lauren Cashman and Monica Davis each had a double for Homer, with Beach also adding a triple.
Homer will play the tough team to beat, Sitka, on Saturday at 9 a.m.
“I haven’t had a chance to watch them,” Bell said. “The only games they’ve played is when we’re playing, so I hope that some of the parents have been watching so they can give us clues.
“Sitka’s kind of been our nemesis for the last few years, so we would love to win!”