The Homer softball team defeated Soldotna 15-4 in five innings Tuesday at the Soldotna Little League fields in a battle of Northern Lights Conference unbeatens.
The Mariners move to 6-5 overall and 3-0 in the league, while SoHi falls to 5-4 overall and 3-1 in the league.
The Stars jump right back into league play today when they travel to face rival Kenai at 6 p.m. Homer travels to the Matanuska-Susitna valleys for nonconference games this weekend.
“We knew it would be a pretty close game,” Homer coach Bill Bell said. “We watched (Soldotna) up in Anchorage.
“They have a tight infield and Emily (Jackson) is getting the ball over the plate. They are a well-coached team.”
The Stars actually had a 3-2 lead after two innings before Homer’s bats took over the game. The Mariners ended up with 18 hits to Soldotna’s eight.
“Give credit to Homer,” Soldotna coach Kelli Knoebel said. “They were square on the ball and they have good hitters. That’s what the game is all about.”
Homer faced that 3-2 deficit in the top of the third with the top of its lineup coming to the plate.
Each of the top six hitters in Homer’s lineup had big days, which led to Homer taking a 6-3 lead after 3 1-2 innings and never looking back.
No. 1 hitter Mary Hana Bowe was 4 for 4 with four runs, No. 2 Izabelle Hagge was 2 for 2 with three runs, No. 3 McKi Needham was 3 for 4 with three runs and six RBIs, No. 4 Malina Fellows was 1 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs, No. 5 Isabel Beach was 3 for 4 with five RBIs and No. 6 Riley Walls was 3 for 4.
No. 9 hitter Kyah Doughty also scored a pair of runs.
Bell has been doing a lot of tinkering with positions in nonconference play, but the Mariners showed they can still get down to business in conference play.
“I’m really happy with the team,” Bell said. “I feel like they are jelling together.”
Needham went all five innings on the mound for Homer, giving up eight hits and four earned runs while striking out five and walking none.
For Soldotna, Amber McDonald was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Danielle Hills was 2 for 3.
Emily Jackson pitched all five innings for the Stars, giving up the 18 hits while striking out two and walking three.
“She pitched her game,” Knoebel said of Jackson. “When a pitcher pitches, good teams are going to hit.”
The Stars will travel to Homer for a game May 19. Knoebel thinks her squad can give the Mariners a better game.
“We know they’re going to hit,” Knoebel said. “But can we hit better? Can we play better defense? Certainly.”