The American Legion Twins lost their first two games in the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament on Tuesday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The Twins take on East of Anchorage today at 9 a.m. at Seymour Park. The semifinal games at Seymour Park will feature Napoleon (Ohio) against Team Avenue Academy (California) at noon and Castroville (Texas) against Service at 3 p.m.
The Twins dropped a 10-7 decision to Team Avenue Academy before falling 4-0 to Castroville.
In other games Thursday, it was Service 9, East 2; Napoleon 10, Service 0; Castroville 16, East 1; and Castroville 9, Team Avenue Academy 5.
In the final game of the evening, Castroville kept a perfect season alive by topping the Twins.
The Texas squad formed right before coming to Alaska and took the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament in Wasilla on Sunday.
The two Tuesday victories moved Castroville to 6-0, while the Twins are now 9-9 overall.
Texas head coach Nick Alvarado said his team originally had trouble forming because of players backing out at the last minute, but credited general manager Jerome Iltis with using his Legion experience to get a team together and send it to Alaska.
“We’ve got great kids,” Alvarado said. “It’s been amazing. They’ve been really coachable and receptive to change.
“Luck of the draw, we’ve been able to get some kids that have meshed well.”
Alvarado said all but one of his players made the postseason in the Texas high school season, and four played for the 3A state title. The biggest schools in Texas play 6A ball, while the smallest are at 1A.
Starting pitcher Rico Trevino is one of those that played for the state title, and he shut the Twins down on two hits over the first five innings. Heath Clary finished it off with two scoreless, hitless innings of relief.
Wesley Moss, who scored from second base when Valley didn’t turn a double play to win the Todd Ryan tourney in extra innings, kept up his base-running heroics against the Twins. He was 3 for 4 with three stolen bases, two runs and an RBI.
“He’s electric,” Alvarado said. “It’s fun to watch. He has no fear and he does not like red lights.”
Leadoff hitter Kobrey Garcia finished 1 for 3 with a run, RBI and stolen base, while Frank Bosmans had two RBIs and Noe Garza had a double and a run.
Twins coach Gary Oliver said his club just ran into a solid team.
“Our team did a good job,” Oliver said. “4-0 against this team is nothing to hang your head about.”
Oliver particularly was impressed with the way shortstop Ethan Valdez and second baseman Garcia took away hits up the middle.
Joey Becher pitched the first 4 2-3 innings and gave up four runs on six hits. Tommy Bowe kept Castroville scoreless and hitless over the final 2 1-3.
“We played good defense,” Oliver said. “We made one error and we turned a double play against them.”
Castroville is back in Alaska and repeated its Todd Ryan title from 2012. However, Texas would like to change the runner-ups it had at the Bill Miller and BP Invitational tourneys.
“The people here in Alaska treat us nicely,” Alvarado said. “Texas guys can be rambunctious, but we’ve gotten a great reception our two times here.
“The coaches and organizers do a great job.”
In the loss to Team Avenue Academy, the Twins were down 10-2 entering the bottom of the seventh before putting together a five-run rally.
Jullian Vasquez started for California and went six innings, giving up two runs — one earned — on three hits. Once Vasquez came out, the Twins were able to rally.
“We just got going too late,” Oliver said.
Vasquez helped his own cause by going 2 for 2 with three runs, while Preston Scott had two hits and Jose Castruita had two runs.
For the Twins, Kenny Griffin and Tyler Covey each scored two runs.
On the hill, Matthew Daugherty gave up three runs in four innings, JJ Sonnen gave up four runs in an inning, and Justice Miller yielded three runs in two innings.