Tyler Fritz broke a tie game with an RBI triple in the top of the ninth inning to give the American Legion AA Twins an 8-7 win over Eagle River at Oberg Fields in Chugiak on Wednesday.
Ethan Oliver closed the game in the bottom of the ninth to seal the victory, getting the final two outs on only nine pitches after relieving Fritz on the mound.
Post 20 ended up losing the second game 7-3 against the Wolves later on Wednesday, but that was a non-league contest.
“We were OK going in, but we’re still missing a lot of guys,” said Twins coach Gary Oliver. “We didn’t know what we had, and we were guessing at the batting order, the lineup, and we had a couple of JV players at the start.”
Hector Rivera led Post 20 with 3-for-5 hitting, two runs and a stolen base. Dallas Pierren hit 2-for-4 with an RBI and run, Fritz went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run, and Josh Darrow went 1-for-1 with an RBI.
Pierren pitched early in the game, but it was Fritz that got the win in relief, according to coach Oliver. Fritz struck out Eagle River’s first batter in the final inning, but had a hit pitch and walked two more to load the bases. That’s when Ethan Oliver was put in to close it out.
“It was good to see the guys perform that way, but then again we’ve only had the four practices, and we’re basically doing the same as every year,” coach Oliver said, “We’re still getting players together from each school.”
Eagle River held an early lead, scoring a run in the the third inning, four runs in the fourth, and one each in the fifth and seventh innings, but the Twins came on strong in the end, with four runs in the sixth, three in the eighth, and Fritz’s triple in the ninth that brought home Hector Rivera for their first lead of the game.
The Twins had 10 hits, four errors and left seven men on base. Eagle River had nine hits, three errors but left 12 men on base.
In the second game, Eagle River left eight men on base, compared to only five for Post 20, but the Twins didn’t have the offensive firepower to overcome the Wolves.
“They worked out of some jams in that game as well,” Oliver said. “They need to be commended for that.”
Eagle River scored in the second and third innings for an early 2-0 lead, but the Twins got three runs in the fourth to grab the temporary lead.
The Wolves had two runs in the fourth inning to retake the lead and they never looked back, tacking on two more in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Zach Haning from Homer made his debut with the Twins by pitching three innings, before Tyler Covey took over for a bit.
Kenny Griffin led the squad with 2-for-3 hitting, a run and 2 RBI.
The Twins will have two days of practice before they face Service in their home opener at the Kenai Little League fields on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.