The Homer Little League Giants (10- to 12-year-old Majors) made the journey north to Soldotna over the last two weekends to take on four of the top teams in that region. Over the last several years, the Homer boys haven’t fared well against the “big town” rivals, but this year things took a new turn.
Adding a handful of Homer White Sox players to supplement the team, the Giants pulled out two last inning victories during the first of the back-to-back weekend doubleheaders. In the first game. the Giants entered the last inning down 8-6 and loaded the bases with two outs. The Giants centerfielder Ethan Pitzman came to the plate and lined a ball into left that shot past the outstretched glove of the Mariner left fielder for a bases-clearing double. The runner from first base, Finn Heimbold, just beat the throw to the home and the Giants had a 9-8 victory.
The second game against the Soldotna Red Sox turned into a pitching dual with Teagan Carlson of the Giants relieving Mose Hayes and shutting down the Red Sox for five innings. Going into the sixth and final inning ahead 2-0, (Little League games are by rule six innings) the Red Sox scraped together two runs and the Giants came to bat with the game tied 2-2.
Johnny Rummery led off the inning and drilled a triple up the alley in right center. When the ball bounced away from the catcher on the next batter, Rummery raced home with the winning run.
The following weekend proved to be almost as exciting. In the first game the Giants, (again with some White Sox help), battled the Kenai Yankees in a back-and-forth game with Finn Heimbold clubbing a towering two-run homer to tie the game at 2-2 in the fourth. The Giants seemed on their way to an easy win by scoring six runs in the fifth to take a 9-4 lead, but the Yankees came roaring back in the sixth. With four runs in and the tying run on first base with two out, Giant first baseman Colby Marion made an acrobatic catch on a line drive headed down the right field line to seal the Giants’ third straight one-run victory.
The second game of the day and the fourth of the series would prove to be the toughest, as the first place undefeated Soldotna Cardinals were poised to keep the Giants from sweeping the lower Kenai Peninsula series for the first time ever.
They came out with the region’s best pitchers, a couple of tall flame throwers who effectively shut down the Giants bats for most of the game, at one point striking out eight hitters in a row. Still, Teagan Carlson was up for the challenge and had another great outing for the Giants, keeping the game close before the Cardinals scored insurance runs on some rare Giants’ mistakes in the fifth. The Homer boys finally went down for the first time, losing 7-2.