Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 8:53 PM on Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Softball team set for season of success

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer

For Mariner girls, excellence is a lifestyle.

The team has won more than half of region titles in the past 11 seasons.

This year, though physically somewhat smaller, the team looks like it will be competitive.

"We have a really great team this year. I'm really optimistic," said Head Coach Bill Bell, who is returning for his seventh year.

Bell said the team is anchored by deep pitching talent, and is overall more consistent in speed and hitting ability than in the recent past.

The varsity team has three solid pitchers in Zoe Fogg, Katie McNary, Hannah LaRue. Dakota Tennison brings a strong arm to the jv squad.

The team is stronger all around, thanks to new jv coach MaryJo Cambridge, who has a masters degree in strength and conditioning, spent six years as a D1 softball coach at Greensborough, N.C., and was a conditioning trainer for the US Tennis Association.

"She has brought a new level of conditioning that is just incredible to see," Bell said.

That being said, Cambridge said the Mariners have more built-in speed than she's seen in a team.

Bell said his other support staff also is incredible.

Susie Parrish played Division 3 ball at the Coast Guard Academy, was an All-American short stop and still holds single season and career batting records. Former D2 ball player Jen Liston returns for her fifth year with the program. Leslie Mastick will work with catchers.

Bell said he expects Homer will play with parity against Anchorage teams.

He said the Kodiak and three other peninsula teams all are looking competitive. Traditionally, the Ms' toughest games are against Soldotna. Kodiak usually fields strong. This will be Kenai's second year with a varsity squad and Skyview is getting better every year.

The Ms start their game season in Kenai at 5 p.m. today and host Soldotna at 3:30 and 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The team's website is www.marinersoftball.net.

Softball Schedule

April 28 at Kenai 5 p.m.

May 4 vs. Soldotna 5 p.m.

May 6 at Anchorage

May 7 at Anchorage

May 10 vs. Skyview 5 p.m.

May 12-13 at Sitka

May 17 vs. Kenai 5 p.m.

May 20-21 vs. Anchorage 5 p.m., TBA

May 24 at Skyview

May 25-26 vs. Kodiak 4 p.m.

May 28 at Soldotna 2 and 4 p.m.