Kenai overcomes odds, Chugiak twice, to win AA state title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 5, 2012

You figured the grueling grind of the loser's bracket would eventually catch up with the Kenai Post 20 Twins at the Alaska Legion AA state tournament.

Faced with the task of winning four games over Friday and Saturday, they were up for the challenge and responded with one of the most remarkable runs in Alaska baseball history.

Kenai won seven consecutive elimination games at Mulcahy Stadium this week, including two in a row over previously undefeated Chugiak Post 33 in Saturday's championship finals, to capture the program's first state title since 1995.

The Twins won the first championship game 8-7 after scoring five runs in the eighth inning, then won the if-necassary game 11-4 thanks to a six-run fifth inning to claim the title.

Kenai [34-9] will now represent Alaska at the Northwest Region 7 Tournament in Billings, Mont. The tournament begins Thursday, with Kenai facing Hawaii that morning.

Star centerfielder A.J. Hull earned the Ron La Porte State Tournament MVP Award for his efforts at the plate, on the mound and in the field. He hit .405 in eight tournament games and was also a menace on the base paths, going 10 for 10 on stolen bases.

He also was the winning pitcher in the second title game, throwing seven strong innings.

Kenai's Josiah Covey won the Big Stick Award after hitting .447 with a tournament-best 14 RBIs. He also had the winning RBI in three walkoff wins over Service, South and Eagle River.

The Gold Glove Award was a tie between Chugiak's Conner Cimmiyotti and Kenai's Jake Darrow.

Most Outstanding Pitcher went to Eagle River ace David Fuller, who led the tournament with a 1.84 ERA and tossed a 5-hit shut out of Kenai in the first round.

But that was then.

This is now.

Now the Twins can call themselves state champs.

For Chugiak, the two loses Saturday shouldn't take the shine off its terrific tournament performance. 

The Mustangs [17-18] were a No. 6 seed that got within a few outs of winning the program's seventh state championship.

They carried a 6-3 lead into the eighth inning with its stud on the hill in the first game.

But Kenai proved time and time again that it couldn't be killed, fighting off elimination seven consecutive times before the Twins finally hoisted the championship trophy.