The No. 5-seeded American Legion Twins opened up the Alaska state tournament with a 9-5 victory Friday over No. 4 Eagle River at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.
The Twins advance to a Sunday game against No. 8 South at 4 p.m. The Wolverines, which defeated the Twins earlier in the year, knocked off No. 1 Wasilla on Friday by an 11-6 score.
Dallas Pierren had a big game for the Twins on the mound and at the plate.
On the mound, Pierren went the first seven innings and gave up three hits and an earned run while walking five and striking out four.
At the plate, Pierren reached base all five times, going 4 for 4 with a two-RBI double.
But Twins head coach Hector Rivera said it was a team effort, particularly on defense, where Eagle River committed five errors and the Twins did not commit any.
Rivera said it rained throughout the game.
“He had solid defense behind him,” Rivera said of Pierren. “Those outfielders were chasing fly balls and it was a wet, sloppy outfield. The infielders knocked the ball down and made the throws.”
Rivera also said catcher Kenny Griffin was able to cut down two runners stealing.
The Twins also outhit Eagle River 10-5, and the scoreboard reflected it. The Twins, the visitors, had a 7-0 lead after the sixth and a 9-1 lead entering the ninth.
Josh Darrow pitched the last two innings for the Twins, giving up two hits and four runs while walking three and striking out one.
Darrow was 2 for 5 with three runs at the plate, while Justin Wisnewski was 1 for 3 with a run, three RBIs and two stolen bases.
“I think the guys are very relaxed on our team,” Rivera said. “It’s a young team. They feel no pressure.”
The low seeds won all the first-round games, as No. 6 Dimond topped No. 3 Chugiak 7-5 and No. 7 Juneau beat No. 2 Service 13-8.
Four Twins make American Legion Team of Excellence
Infielder Hector A. Rivera, catcher Griffin, utility player Tommy Bowe and starting pitcher Pierren made the American Legion Team of Excellence, which was announced Friday.
Rivera played a steady shortstop while getting 15 singles, five doubles, a triple and a home run. He stole 16 bases, had 13 RBIs and scored 27 runs.
Despite having to work behind the plate, Griffin still batted .420 with 17 singles and four doubles. He stole four bases, had 15 RBIs and scored 21 runs.
Bowe hit .377 with 12 singles, three doubles, a triple and a home run. He scored 14 runs and had 15 RBIs.
Pierren had a 3-1 record with a 3.37 ERA in 32 innings pitched. He gave up 18 hits and 12 earned runs while walking 15 and striking out 30.
He also did a great job of helping himself out at the plate. He hit .428 with 10 singles, 10 doubles and a home run. He had 15 runs and 15 RBIs.
American Legion team of excellence
Outfield – Ryan Caron, Service; Cameron Fabacher, Eagle River; Spencer Floyd, South; Payton Lauwers, Dimond; Jon Levan, Kodiak; Brandon Neal, Chugiak.
Infield – L.J. Felix, West; Deven Ferriss, Chugiak; Austin Frick, Kodiak; Lauren Frost, Eagle River; Tanner Petrie, Juneau; Matt Schnellbecher, East; Hector A. Rivera, Kenai; Ben Ross, Wasilla; Mike Rosenberg, Eagle River.
Catcher – Kenny Griffin, Kenai; Brandan Pickett, Kodiak; Alec Valdez, South.
Utility – Tommy Bowe, Kenai; Gus Swanton, Juneau; Tristen Woods, Service.
Starting pitcher – Jake Arnold, Kodiak; Scott Campos, East; Cameron Fabacher, Eagle River; Josh Fetko, Service; Nick Jensen, South; Nolan Monaghan, Wasilla; Tanner Petrie, Juneau; Dallas Pierren, Kenai.
Relief pitcher – Tyler Boensch, Wasilla; Jacob Butcher, Wasilla; RJ Dirscherl, Eagle River; Mike Shuler, Service.
Coach of the year – Gregg Frost, Eagle River; Willie Paul, Service; Boone Thompson, Wasilla.