The Post 20 Twins squeaked by Service in an 11-10 win to continue their march through the consolation bracket at the American Legion AA State Tournament in Anchorage.
The Twins will face Fairbanks at noon Wednesday at Mulcahy Park.
With the scored tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Brandon Mahle scored on a walk-off single hit to center field by Josiah Covey to allow the Twins to advance to the next game.
“I don’t know if exciting is the right word, maybe nerve-wracking,” Twins coach Gary Oliver said. “It just swung back and forth, you know, they’d score a run and then we would score a run. It was a dogfight, and we just started walking batters.
“That’s all we needed, to just end it right there in the ninth.”
Service’s Jacob Ridley hit a double that allowed Aaron Miller to score and close to within one run of Kenai in the top of the ninth, and Trace Woodruff singled up the middle to score a run from Ridley to tie the game at 10 apiece.
With the late-game tension, Oliver said the Twins made a few pitching changes that were made in hopes of stopping any additional runs.
“It was one of those pitching deals,” he said. “We ended up going to Brandon Mahle, trying to shut this thing down, and it got intense. I’m not sure which way we’ll go with pitchers tomorrow, we’ll do the best we can with what we got.”
AJ Hull pitched six innings, giving up 10 hits and throwing three strikeouts, but it was Mahle who received the win, pitching one inning with one hit and two strikeouts.
The Twins fought with Service all game long, as the lead changed hands five times total, but received the biggest boost in the fifth inning, when the Twins scored five runs.
Covey singled up the middle to score a run from Hull, Justin Wisnewski singled up the middle to score a run from Mitchell Thompson, Jake Darrow hit a 2-RBI single to score runs from Wisnewski and Shane Miller, and Ethan Oliver scored on a wild pitch to finish up the big inning.
After six innings, the Twins held a 9-4 lead, but Service clawed it’s way back with two runs in each of the final three innings.
Covey ended up hitting 5 for 6 with three RBI and one run, Darrow hit 1 for 3 with two RBI and a run, Miller hit 2 for 4 with a run, and Thompson went 1 for 4 with one RBI and two runs.
Service racked up 16 hits to Kenai’s 12, and both teams committed two errors.
Oliver is not taking Wednesday’s game against Fairbanks for granted.
“Fairbanks has a good ball team, I think we just caught them at a bad time in the the regule season,” he said. “They seem to be playing better baseball now in the tournament.”