The Homer softball team picked up a crucial 8-7 Northern Lights Conference victory over Soldotna on Tuesday in Homer.
The trip to state in the league will be between Kodiak, Homer and Soldotna. The Bears are the defending state champions. The Mariners and Stars play three conference games this season, and round one went to Homer.
Soldotna is now 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
The Stars had a 7-4 lead entering the bottom of the seventh, but Homer rallied for the victory. The Mariners started the inning with three singles in a row. One run scored on a sacrifice fly, then two more came around on a single. A throwing error let in the winning run and gave Homer its first lead of the game.
"All conference games are important," Soldotna coach Dave Cleveland said. "We played very well. I can't complain.
"In the bottom half of the seventh inning, they got some very timely hits."
Savannah Hegge took the loss for the Stars, giving up seven hits in seven innings while striking out five.
Hannah Romberg and Mariah Darrow were each 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Stars. Hegge was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a sacrifice, while Emily Smola had a double.
Cleveland also said that Megan Hardy had a great game in center field, making two diving catches. On both catches, she brought her glove hand across her body to snare the ball.
"We're anxious to play them again," Cleveland said.
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