For the first time in three years, Homer Little League sent a Majors team to the All-Stars.
“The boys practiced together for two weeks and made great progress in defensive plays, hitting, pitching, and teamwork,” said Kathy Beachy, president of Homer Little League.
Coached by Mike Hayes and John Rummery, the 12-member Homer team were scheduled for a total of seven games. They celebrated one win, sat out one game because of rain and suffered five losses.
July 8: Abbot-o-Rabbit vs. Homer, 10-2, six innings; Garret Koch and Johnny Rummery scoring;
July 9: Homer vs. Polar, 9-4, six innings, Ethan Pitzman hit a home run, Mose Hayes and Finn Heimbold scored twice each, Cole Bernier and Koch also scored, this win advanced Homer to the following week’s district finals;
July 10: The game was rained out;
July 11: Dimond West vs. Homer, 10-0, five innings;
July 12: Anchorage West vs. Homer, 10-6, six innings, Clayton Beachy scored a triple, Rummery, Pitzman, Koch and Hayes also scored;
In the double-elimination District Finals hosted by Knik and played at Eagle River:
July 14: Knik vs. Homer, 14-2, four innings, Bernier and Koch each scored, Knik went on to win the finals;
July 15: Abbot-o-Rabbit vs. Homer, 15-2, four innings, Beachy and Koch each scored.
“Great rotation of pitchers made this competition possible for Homer,” said Beachy. “Bernier, Beachy, Hayes and Pitzman pitched multiple games.”
Last year, Hayes and Teagan Carlson represented Homer in All-Stars play. For the rest of the team, this was a new experience.
“They faced a whole new level of skilled players and stepped up,” said Beachy. “(There were) good offensive hits and precise defensive plays.”
Parental support with carpooling, meals and chaperoning helped make the experience a success. Area churches also opened their facilities to provide overnight accommodations. Taking advantage of the visit to that part of the state, the team spent mornings in the batting cages, enjoyed open swim at the pool, a pizza party at Chuck E. Cheese and a hike to the Eagle River nature center.
“Thanks to David Gimmel, Alaska District 1 Superintendent, for his help in encouraging our participation,” said Beachy.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at email@example.com.