Story last updated at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, June 6, 2002

HHS softballers fall to Monroe Catholic
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

A furious Mariner comeback fell just short Friday as the Homer High School softball team fell 7-6 to Monroe Catholic in first-round action of the State Softball Championships in Anchorage.

After a Mariner defensive lapse led to a pair of unearned runs for Monroe in the top of the seventh, the Mariners pushed four runs across the plate in the bottom half to pull within a run. The Rams finally shut down the rally, leaving the tying run at third base.

Mariner coach Scott Bauer said his team might have been guilty of looking beyond their game with the little private school from Fairbanks.

Bauer applauded the pitching of Natalie Creamer, saying that the defensive problems were the Mariners' back-breaker.

"Basically we started off slowly against Monroe," he said. "We didn't hit until later in the game."

In their consolation game, the Mariners lost 14-8 to Dimond of Anchorage. The game underscored Bauer's belief that large and small schools should have separate tournaments.

"It's pretty obvious that the larger schools are a step ahead," Bauer said. "We can compete with those teams occasionally but not on a year-to-year basis."

Bauer pointed out that Homer's conference peers Kodiak and Seward also bowed out of State quickly. He said he raised his concerns with tournament officials in hopes they may consider a new format.

The championship featured a pair of 4A schools, Juneau-Douglas and Service. Juneau won 6-4.

Mariners Ellen Bauer and Caitlin Crandall each earned a player of the game award, while Leah Hayes and Danielle Duggar earned tournament sportsmanship honors.

"It was just a great experience for the whole team," Bauer said finally. "It gave us championship experience that we'll carry over to next season."