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American Legion Twins fall to Fairbanks at state

Local 9 is now 1 game from elimination

Posted: July 22, 2011 - 12:32pm  |  Updated: July 23, 2011 - 8:46pm

The American Legion Twins dropped into the losers' bracket at the state tournament with an 8-6 loss to Fairbanks on Saturday at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

The Twins now face elimination in a game today against West at noon at Mulcahy. The local nine split a pair of league games with West this year.

The Twins, the No. 7 seed, threw a scare into Fairbanks, the No. 2 seed.

AJ Hull was able to silence the Fairbanks' bats for seven innings. Hull gave up one hit and two earned runs, but he did walk eight and hit three batters in throwing 120 pitches.

Fairbanks took the lead in the first inning, but the Twins, who had 13 hits to Fairbanks' seven, tied the game at 1 in the second when Shayne Miller singled to score Josiah Covey.

After Fairbanks grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Twins came back with a five-run rally to take a 6-2 lead in the top of the eighth.

The Twins chased Fairbanks starter Jeff Holt in the beginning of the eighth, forcing Fairbanks to bring in ace Tim Ballard.

"We put some real pressure on Fairbanks," Post and team manager Lance Coz said. "They came in here thinking they could walk straight to the state championship game, but there's a lot of baseball to play yet."

The Twins got their five runs in the eighth on just three hits.

Hull came out after the seventh and Fairbanks immediately went to work on reliever Josiah Covey, who was pitching his second straight day.

Covey gave up six runs - four earned - on five hits in recording just one out. Kevin Rowe finished up the eighth.

A misplayed ground ball in the outfield helped Fairbanks score the tying run. Fairbanks grabbed an 8-6 lead after the eighth and Ballard shut the Twins down in the ninth to earn the victory.

"The biggest factor is never all season have we had a real closer - someone who can come in and throw a lot of fastball strikes," Coz said. "With a lead, that's what you've got to do."

Coz said the Twins also were hurt by leaving 11 runners on base.

"A lack of timely hitting left a lot of scores out there that would have opened up the game early," Coz said.

Hull finished 3 for 5, while Covey was 2 for 4 with two runs. Miller and Oliver each collected a pair of hits.

Twins 8, Golden Bears 6

The Twins defeated Bartlett on Friday at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage in the opening game of the state tournament.

It looked like the Twins were going to roll over the Golden Bears, taking a 5-0 lead after two innings.

"The guys were hitting the ball well and aggressive on the base paths - all the positive things you need to overwhelm an opponent," Coz said.

Aliober Rivera got the first run of the game by stealing home on a double steal. Covey then singled in Hull and Kevin Rowe doubled to score Covey.

The Twins kept rolling in the second when Jake Darrow grounded out to score Oliver and Brian Rowe scored on a throwing error.

Mason Kanakis got the start for the Twins and cruised through the first two innings, but gave up three runs in the third. Tay Harling came on in the fourth for the Twins and gave up three runs as Bartlett grabbed a 6-5 lead.

The Twins tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when Rivera grounded out to score Darrow.

Harling then shut the Bears down through the sixth to earn the win, and Covey came on in the seventh and threw three hitless innings for the save. Covey struck out three.

"Naturally, he pumped up the team with his performance on the mound," Coz said of Covey.

The Twins took the lead in the seventh when Rivera scored on an error. In the eighth, the local nine got an insurance run when Brian Rowe had his second triple of the day and scored on a single by Darrow.

With so many games coming up in so many days, Coz said it would have been nice to end the game sooner with the mercy rule, but he's not complaining.

"A win is a win," he said. "You always enjoy them, but this one was kind of ugly."

The Twins banged out 10 hits while committing just one error. That was enough to make up for the staff giving out seven walks and hitting two batters.

Brian Rowe led the Twins with three hits, while Darrow and Covey had two apiece.

Later in the day, Darrow and Hull were named to the Team of Excellence at the opening ceremonies. Darrow made it at infield, while Hull held down the outfield. Covey had honorable mention in the infield.

Saturday
Fairbanks 8, Twins 6
Twins 010 000 050 - 6 13 3
Fairbanks 100 000 16X - 8 7 2
Hull, Covey (8), K. Rowe (8) and Miller; Holt, Ballard (8) and Wixon. W - Ballard. L - Covey. 2B - Twins: Oliver; Fairbanks: Brock 2, Clark. LOB - Kenai 11, Fairbanks 10.

Friday
Twins 8, Golden Bears 6
Bartlett 003 300 000 - 6 5 3
Twins 320 100 11X - 8 10 1
Wilson, Pasquale (8) and Gross; Kanakis, Harling (4), Covey (7) and Miller. W - Harling. L - Wilson. S - Covey. 2B - Bartlett: Brock; Twins: K. Rowe. 3B - Twins: B. Rowe 2.

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