After being upset 6-0 by Eagle River last Saturday in the first game of the American Legion AA State Tournament, the Post 20 Twins have managed to stay alive in the loser’s consolation bracket with an 11-1 beatdown of Fairbanks Wednesday afternoon at Mulcahy Park in Anchorage.
Kenai wasted no time scoring runs on Wednesday, as Tommy Bowe blasted a grand slam in the first inning to lead a six-run assault on Fairbanks. Bowe ended up hitting 1 for 3 with two runs and, of course, four RBI.
“He put that one out of there, it was a towering home run,” Twins coach Gary Oliver said. “When it took off, I didn’t know if it would go out, but it was way out there.”
Josiah Covey also hit a 2-RBI single to go along with Bowe’s feat in the first inning.
“They hit the daylights out of the baseball,” Oliver said. “They were just hitting hard all over the field, and we sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning.”
Kenai scored another run in the fourth inning, and put the game out of reach in the fifth with four more runs, helped by AJ Hull’s 2-RBI single.
Fairbanks’ lone run came in the second inning, when LJ Sotelo was hit by the pitch which forced Chris Gavora across home plate.
After the suprising loss to the Wolves in their first game, the Twins have since beat West 18-8 on Sunday and Service 11-10 on Tuesday to keep their hopes alive in the tournament. If the Twins continue to win games, they may have a shot at the championship on Friday. They are currently two wins away from that scenario.
The Twins will play South at 2 p.m. today at Mulcahy Park. If the Twins can win that game, they will advance to play Eagle River, which lost to Chugiak 10-0 in the winner’s bracket semifinal game on Wednesday.
If Kenai beats Eagle River, they will face Chugiak in the championship game on Friday, but because they arrived there from the loser’s bracket, they will have to beat the Mustangs twice, in a doubleheader, to win the tournament.
But, for now, the Twins are focused on taking down South (and possibly Eagle River) on Thursday.
“You never know one day to the next, it’s a matter of keeping the bats going, and hoping our pitching holds up,” Oliver said. “We have guys available, if they can do their job and the defense can hold up, we can play with any team here.”
In Wednesday’s game, Hull hit 3 for 4 with three RBI. According to the Legion website, he also made a beautiful diving catch in the third inning to rob Scooter Bynum of extra bases, and quite possibly an inside-the-park home run.
Ethan Oliver hit 2 for 3 with one RBI and one run, Jake Darrow went 2 for 3 with 3 runs, Hector Rivera went 2 for 4 with one run and one RBI, and Covey hit 1 for 4 with two RBI and one run.
Post 20 starter Brandon Mahle pitched the first four innings with one hit, one run and no strikeouts, and reliever Tay Harling cleaned up with three scoreless frames, getting the win as well. Harling had no hits, no runs and three strikeouts.
Identical to the score, the Twins had 11 hits, while Fairbanks had one. Both teams also had two errors each.
The Twins beat South in their most recent meeting, and know anything can happen, as evidenced by their shutout loss against Eagle River, but Oliver has all the confidence in the world for the team.
“I told the guys, you got us spoiled, because they make it so easy for us coaches,” Oliver said. “Man if they keep hitting the ball like they did today, we can do it.”