Kenai scores go-ahead run in 8th to hold off Service for title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 31, 2016


The Kenai Post 20 Twins scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to secure an 8-7 win over giant killer Service Post 28 on Saturday night at Mulcahy Stadium.

Calvin Hills' wheels provided the winning difference as his speed and heads-up base running set up the winning run.

After he singled with one out, Hills raced from first base to third base on a wild pitch and later scored on a grounder to shortstop in which Service all-star Raleigh Pigg looked Hills back to third before he fired a strike to first baseman Derek Scoggins for the out before Scoggins went home with a throw that was just late.

It was just one of many big plays on the night.

There were others moments like Kenai's Mason Prior making a head-first diving catch and then doubling up the runner on first base and closer Gavin Petterson working around a leadoff walk in the ninth inning before striking out the side to earn the save.

And then there was Scoggins, who drove in a runner from third on a comebacker in which he hustled down the line to beat the throw and tie the game at 7-7.

The No. 2 seeded Twins beat Service twice in the state tournament, including 17-1 on Day 2.

This was the fourth all-time Legion championship for Kenai, the first for head coach Robb Quelland. The team also won in 2012.

In winning the tournament, Kenai will represent the Alaska Legion Baseball at the Northwest Regional Tournament from Aug. 3-7 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Kenai centerfielder Paul Steffenson was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. He batted .444 in five games and led the tournament with nine RBIs. Half of his eight hits went for extra bases, including an inside-the-park home run.

Service, the No. 6 seed, upset No. 3 South, No. 4 Chugiak, No. 5 Wasilla and No. 1 Juneau on the way to the title game.

Cougars manager Willie Paul guided his program to its first appearance in the state championship game since 2001.

For making the title title, Service earned the right to represent the ALB at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament [NWCART] on Aug. 4-9 in Laurel, Montana.

In addition to Steffensen being named MVP, other awards included:

Service pitcher Raleigh Pigg won the Top Pitcher Award after going 1-0 and earning a save in his only two appearances. He pitched 10 innings, struck out seven and fashioned a 0.90 ERA.

Wasilla shortstop Matt Palmer had an RBI in all three games while batting .562 with seven total RBIs en route to winning the tournament's Big Stick Award.

Juneau shortstop Zeb Storie gobbled up groundballs like a vacuum, converting all 29 total defensive chances over the tournament, to win the Gold Glove Award.

Service 8, Juneau 6

Earlier in the day, the Cougars platd four runs over the eighth and ninth innings to knock out the Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns in a knockout game.

It was Service's third consecutive win in an elimination game.

Cooper Bailey Parsons drove in three runs, Nick Hall had three hits and Carsen Sandau had two RBIs.

Relief pitchers Hall and Pigg combined to pitch the winal 6.2 innings.

Juneau's Bryce Swofford went 3=for-5 and Finn Collins and Stories each had two RBIs.


Fairbanks Wild 6, East 4

Evan Wilken and Ben Hall combined on a four-hitter to lift Fairbanks Post 30 over the Post 34 T-birds in the tournament championship game.

Wilken pitched the first five innings to college the win and Hall shut the door with two innings of scoreless relief for the save.

Axel Keeton scored two of his team's six runs. The Wild won despite having fewer hits than the T-birds.

East's Brian Sosa pitched all six innings for East. Standley Nolberto went 2-for-4 and scored a run.