Story last updated at 12:18 p.m. Thursday, May 2, 2002

Homer girls blast into softball season
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

With the thermometer finally hitting some summer-like temperatures, the Homer High School girls softball team exploded into their season opener like it was the Fourth of July, routing host Seward 16-1 on Saturday in a game that was called for the 15-run rule after the third inning.

Natalie Creamer was a force on the mound for the Mariners, striking out the side in the second and fanning five in the game.

"Natalie pitched three very strong innings," Mariner coach Scott Bauer said.

The hits came from up and down the lineup as the Mariners took advantage of aggressive base running to press the issue.

After the cancellation of Homer's other Saturday game <> Monroe High School was snowed in and couldn't make the trip south <> the Mariners were quoting from Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks: "Let's play two! Please."

Mariner coach Scott Bauer quickly arranged to scrimmage Seward, attempting to get his team some more innings on such a nice day.

It's been a long spring, Bauer said.

"We're so frustrated with playing indoors and in parking lots, we could probably play 10 games in a row," Bauer added.

The Mariners starters rolled out a 10-1 lead in the first three innings but after numerous substitutions and switches, the Seahawks came back for a 15-14 win.

Despite being a relatively young team, Bauer thinks his squad should be solid contender in district competition, with a strong core of juniors providing the leadership for a group that has some experience playing together. Daniel Duggar, Caitlin Crandall and Nicolette and Natalie Creamer should all make big contributions, Bauer said.

In addition to his quartet of juniors, Bauer will be seasoning a handful of sophomores and quite a few freshmen.

On the bench, Bauer said his team will benefit from the help and dedication of assistant coaches Beth Trowbridge and Paula Setterquist.

The Homer High softball is in its first full year as a state-sanctioned program, after an abbreviated 4-0 season landed them in the state tournament last year.

Bauer said the step was made possible through the tireless efforts of Setterquist and Darlene Walkden and the help of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District board member Deb Germano.