Story last updated at 5:23 p.m. Thursday, June 13, 2002

Norris blasts home run to set up 12-11 win
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

photo: sports
  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Kathleen Cashin of the Nads takes a healthy cut.  
So far, as Homer's coed Adult Softball League entered its third week, water-cooler talk has been focused on the historic exploits of a certain member of the Growlers.

With her team down by three runs last week, Tanya Norris clubbed a last-at-bat, game-tying home run to power the squad sponsored by the Otter Room and Homer Brewing Co. to a 12-11 win over the Fugitives. Norris' blast was exceptional because, not only did it help win the game, it sailed over the left-field fence at the 260-foot sign, making it reportedly the first out-of-the-ballpark home run hit by a woman in the league's long-running history.

Norris wanted to thank Fugitives pitcher Tim Hatfield for serving up such a hitable pitch.

"After I crossed the plate, I went out to the mound and hugged him."

Norris' teammates were duly impressed by her feat.

"She can play the game," said fellow Growler and league commissioner Steve Smith. Smith added that while it's been all about hitting for his team, the pitching of Sean Cullerton has been another big key. As a team, the Growlers have only allowed 21 runs and are atop the standings at 4-0 with the help Norris, Mali Abrahamson and Doug Johnson among others.

Homer Adult Softball offers a baseball fix to between 130 and 150 players, spread between the league's eight teams.

Smith said the league is hailed by nearly all involved as competitive but friendly, with players from opposing teams often hanging out after games.

"The main thing about it is that it's a melting pot for every different facet of Homer life," Smith said. "And Homer is already a melting-pot town and (the league) is a great microcosm of that.

"You have hippies, builders, restaurant workers, fishermen, loggers, and (bed and breakfast owners). It's just awesome."

photo: sports
  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Jerry Sunthimer follows through while pitching for SBS/Owen Marine during a game against Homer Medical Clinic's Nads Monday.  
Monday through Thursday, this mix comes together for two games a night, with one starting at 6:30 and one at 8. On the typical game night, troupes of kids play in the school's adjacent playground, while their parents battle it out on the diamond.

Point West Video, the defending state E-league champs, are 3-1, with their lone blemish a 13-5 defeat coming at the hands of the Growlers. Chris Perk, Paul Gavenus and Saundra Hudson have been providing the spark for Point West.

Homer Medical Clinic's Nads (3-1) are always tough, Smith said, and this year is no exception.

"They're like the Yankees of Homer," he added. "They've won somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 out of the last 12 city titles."

Sandi DeHoop of the Grog Shop earned player-of-the-week honors. The Grog Shop is one of three teams at 2-2. DeHoop repeatedly found the gap and produced RBIs for her squad.

Also at 2-2 are SBS/Owen Marine, featuring a lot of speed on the bases.

The Fritz Creek Generals, under the leadership of rookie manager Charlie Stewart, have won a pair of games after an 0-2 start. General Lance Stevens was named player of week.

The league's play may be friendly, but the games are definitely take-no-prisoners affairs. And at 0-4, both Duggan's Fugitives and Kharacters have been the casualties thus far in the 2002 campaign.

The Fugitives, a new squad made up of a collection of free agents, has not quite gelled as a team, while Kharacters have been "a joy to compete against," according to Smith. Kharacters lost team sparkplug Andy Kita to an early-season ankle injury.