Kenai Post 20 confident entering regional opener Thursday

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 8, 2012

The Kenai Post 20 Twins are used to overcoming adversity.

They won seven consecutive elimination games to win the Alaska Legion AA state tournament.

Now they will be at the Northwest Region 7 Tournament in Billings, Mont., without star centerfielder A.J. Hull, who left the team to report to football practice at Western Oregon University.

"Our strategy is still the same," said Kenai coach Hector Rivera. "We’re going to hit the ball. We’re going to steal bases. We’re going to be aggressive."

Hull was the state tournament MVP after hitting .405 with 12 RBIs at the plate and going 2-0 in three appearances on the mound.

He will be missed.

But the Twins have the depth to make up for the loss.

"It probably won’t be one particular player, but in my mind, we’ve got three or four kids that are going to have to step up."

Look for Josiah Covey to pick up some of the slack.

The terrific third baseman was a monster at state, leading the tournament in batting average [.447], RBIs [14], triples [2] and total bases [22].

"He’s been doing it all year long," Rivera said.

So have the Twins. They are 34-9 heading into Thursday morning’s regional game against Hawaii and won the Alaska 20-game league season with a 17-3 record.

One of unsung heroes for Kenai is second baseman Hector Rivera Jr. He didn’t make the Team of Excellence and probably wasn’t considered one of the players to stop with Hull, Covey and Jacob Darrow in the lineup.

But the kid delivered big time in big situations.

Earlier this season, he was a catalyst in Kenai’s 2-0 victory over Columbia [Tenn.] Post 19. Then at the state tournament he hit .412 and delivered a two-out RBI and then scored the tying run as Kenai rallied to beat Chugiak to force an if-necessary game.

"He’s cold blooded, man," his dad said. "All the pressure, that’s when he shines."