Ethan Oliver was the poster boy for the saga that was the American Legion Twins' 12-11 victory over Eagle River in the first game of a doubleheader Sunday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The Twins lost the second game, 13-12. The Twins are now 6-4 in the league and 6-8 overall, while the Wolves are 6-7 overall.
Oliver got the start for the Twins in the first game and was roughed up, lasting just three innings. He walked six, gave up nine runs on five hits, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and committed a balk.
After his time on the mound, he came out of the game and iced down his arm.
But Oliver was not done yet, and neither were the Twins.
He re-entered in the bottom of the seventh and started the Twins' three-run, winning rally with a walk.
"The big thing today was we overcame a lot of issues," Twins assistant head coach Gresham Oliver said.
Oliver said his squad issued too many walks, made some crucial errors and committed base-running mistakes.
Yet when the chips were down when the Twins entered the bottom of the seventh trailing 11-9, the team banged out five singles, including four in a row, to end the game.
The Twins ended with 16 hits, while Eagle River had nine.
"You've been 16, 17, 18," Oliver said. "You know how easy it is to get down at that age and stay down. We were able to come back."
Actually, the Twins were able to come back twice.
The local nine entered the bottom of the third inning trailing 9-3. AJ Hull started the inning by cracking the ball to the gap in right-center field and bolting around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
"AJ's inside-the-park home run got us going," said Jake Darrow, who finished 4-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs.
The Twins would send 11 batters to the plate in the inning and smack seven hits in tying the game at 9.
Eagle River coach Gregg Frost said errors were costly in the inning. A potential double-play ground ball resulted in no outs, and the Wolves also were not able to get an out on a routine ground ball to the right side of the infield.
"We gave them six outs in that inning, by my count," Frost said. "It's tough enough to get three outs. We gave them six, and they took advantage."
Eagle River starter Wesley Bennice was able to weather the third-inning storm and keep the Twins off the board in the fourth through sixth innings.
The Wolves got a run off reliever Miles Jones in the fourth and an unearned run off reliever Kevin Rowe in the sixth.
Oliver said Rowe's effort on the mound was key. He pitched three innings and gave up just two hits.
Frost also gave Rowe credit, saying his normally strong offensive team had trouble hitting the lefty.
"I'm not going to take any credit from him," Frost said. "He did something right."
Kyle Frost relieved Bennice in the seventh. After Ethan Oliver walked, Tay Harling singled and Mason Kanakis struck out.
Darrow, Hector Rivera, Hull and Josiah Covey strung together singles for the victory. Covey came up with a tie game and the bases loaded with one out.
"We only had one out, so I knew I had to get the ball into the outfield," Covey said. "I drove the ball out there."
Covey said the Twins were not fazed by having to make the comebacks.
"Our entire lineup can hit the ball," he said.
That lineup starts with Darrow, who spent last winter in Florida playing high school ball. He missed the first part of the Twins season, but has quickly become an on-base machine at the top of the lineup.
"I really got to work on my swing down there," he said. "I did a lot of hitting. I got a little stronger, too."
Hull was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI, while Rivera had two hits and two RBIs, Covey was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Oliver scored three runs, and Harling was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.
For Eagle River, Brandon Metzel had two RBIs, Frost had two hits and two RBIs, Zach Weller was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and Greg Long was 2-for-2.
The second game was another slugfest, as each team pounded 20 hits and another Twins comeback came up just short.
The Twins entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 13-8. Rivera started out the inning by beating a throw to first. Rivera fell down in foul territory, but the umpire ruled he was attempting to go to second. Gresham Oliver was ejected arguing the call.
The call would loom large.
The Twins pushed across four runs to cut the lead to 13-12 and had runners on first and second with two outs when Shayne Miller grounded out to end the game.
David Fuller got the win for Eagle River, while Jake Wenzel had the save. Dallas Pierren took the loss for the Twins.
Darrow was 3-for-5 with three runs, Ben Barton was 4-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs, Hull was 2-for-3 with three runs, three RBIs and two triples, Max Hegge was 2-for-4, Kevin Rowe was 4-for-5 and Covey was 3-for-5.
The Twins face Fairbanks on Wednesday in a 12:30 p.m. doubleheader at Seymour Park.
Twins 12, Wolves 11, Game 1
Eagle River 162 101 0 - 11 9 4
Twins 126 000 3 - 12 16 2
Bennice, Frost (7) and Weller; Oliver, Jones (4), K. Rowe (5) and Miller. L - Frost. W - K. Rowe. 2B - Eagle River: Long, Weller 2, Young; Twins: Darrow. HR - Twins: Hull. LOB - Eagle River 8, Twins 6.
Wolves 13, Twins 12, Game 2
Eagle River 100 201 720 - 13 20 3
Twins 002 402 004 - 12 20 2
Fuller, Wenzel (7) and n/a; Harling, Pierren (4), Darrow (8) and Miller. W - Fuller. L - Pierren. S - Wenzel. 2B - Eagle River: Long, Metzel; Twins: Barton 2. 3B - Eagle River: Wenzel; Twins: Hull 2. LOB - Eagle River 7, Twins 11.