In a game against the SoHi stars on Saturday, the Mariners scored a 9-7 win, their first for the season.
“I was impressed with how our team responded early in the game, chipping away at Soldotna’s five-run lead,” said Mariner Head Coach Mark Putney. “We didn’t give up, and this made our comeback, in the last inning, possible.”
Brandon Beachy started on the mound for Homer, but the Mariners fell behind when Soldotna pushed five runs across in the bottom of the first inning. The Mariners came back with a run of their own in the second inning when Tommy Bowe walked, stole second and then came around to score on a solid RBI single by Michael Swoboda.
Sheldon Hutt took the mound for Homer in the second inning, throwing three shutout innings backed by some good defense. Greg Smith threw a runner out at second on an attempted steal; Owen Delehanty threw out a runner attempting to advance to second. The Mariners kept the Stars from scoring any more runs until the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, Soldotna starting pitcher Clayton Justice limited the Mariners to one run until the Mariners took advantage of a couple of errors to score a second run in the bottom of the fifth on a ground ball off the bat of Evan Beyer, with Wylie Donich scoring from third. Soldotna came back with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth, pulling Soldotna ahead 7-2. Kyle Johnson took over pitching duties for Homer with one out in the fifth and instantly ended the inning when the Mariners turned a ground ball into a double play.
With one out in the sixth, Delehanty drilled a ball to the right field fence for a stand-up double. Smith followed and moved to second. Tommy Bowe hit a looping single into left field, driving in Delehanty and then, on a throwing error, Smith was able to score and Bowe ended up on third base, making the score 7-4. Michael Swobodo then used his speed to pick up an infield base hit and an RBI on a ground ball to deep short, driving in Bowe and bringing the score to 7-5.
Thanks in part to some fly-ball catches by left fielder Noah Jette, Johnson shut down the Stars in the bottom of the sixth with no runs scored, giving Homer one last shot in the seventh and last inning. Evan Boyer led off the inning, but fell to a strike-out. Kyle Johnson was next and tried to bunt for a base hit, but the pitcher made the play for out number two. JJ Sonnen followed with a base hit up the middle, keeping the Mariners’ hopes alive. Delehanty drew a four-pitch walk to put the tying run at first base, with Sonnen moving to third on two passed balls.
After Delehanty stole second, Smith drilled a base hit, driving in both Sonnen and Delehanty to tie the game at 7 each.
Bowe followed with a two-run home run to deep left field putting the Mariners on top 9-7.
The Stars led off the bottom of the seventh with a base hit. Jette then put away a fly ball for the first out. A single dropped into right center field put two on with one out. Bowe snagged a high pop-up for the second out, before Johnson dropped a breaking ball over the plate for a called third strike and the final out.
“It was a fun game. We seem to have put all the pieces together Saturday.”
This week the Mariners travel north:
• Today: Wasilla in Wasilla;
• Friday: Palmer in Palmer;
• Saturday: Houston in Houston.