Story last updated at 2:25 p.m. Thursday, May 30, 2002

Softball team romps in Mat-Su
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

The Homer High School girls softball team finished the regular season in strong form last weekend, grabbing three wins on a four-game trip to the Matanuska and Susitna valleys.

The Mariners got off to good start on Friday as they beat Wasilla 7-3 in what coach Scott Bauer called his team's best game of the year.

On the mound, Homer showcased the sister act of Natalie and Nicole Creamer, who combined to strike out seven Warriors and allowed just one walk and six singles in seven innings.

Bauer couldn't say enough about his team's defense. He highlighted a play during which the Mariners picked off both runners as Wasilla tried a double steal of second base and home.

"It was wonderful to see. They just played errorless ball," Bauer said.

Unfortunately, the Mariners followed the best game with their worst inning, when they gave up seven unearned runs in the first inning of a 10-2 loss to Colony also on Friday.

It was an uncharacteristically quiet day at the plate for the Mariners, who have had little problem producing runs this season.

On Saturday, the Mariners bounced back with a 16-9 win over Wasilla followed by a 19-9 come-from-behind win over Valdez.

Against Valdez, Homer overcame a 9-1 second-inning deficit.

"Luckily, the bats came alive," Bauer said with a laugh. "I didn't know how well we would do down so (many runs).

"It's good to see that we could keep the intensity up and get those runs back."

The Mariners, 11-4, will get to test their potent offense and solid defense when they take the field against Monroe at the State Softball Championships starting Friday in Anchorage.

The heart of the Mariner attack has been leadoff hitter Gretchen Duggar, who ends the regular season with a .607 batting average, Bauer said.

After reaching base, Duggar has often scored as the next five batters all have hit .500 or better.

It is this level offensive production that Bauer hopes to be able to maintain at State.

"We hope to take those strong bats into the state championships against what will be stronger pitching than we've seen all year.

"We've done well against average pitching. Now we're going to have to take a step up."