South upends Twins on state tourney walkoff winner

After ending the regular season on a hot streak of nine wins in 11 games, the American Legion Twins will have to work their way up from the bottom once again.

The Post 20 Twins lost a heartbreaking 4-3 game to South in walkoff fashion on the opening day of the American Legion State tournament Tuesday at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

However, it’s nothing new for Post 20. In 2012, the Twins fought back from an opening day upset to Eagle River to claim the team’s third state championship in its history.

Twins coach Robb Quelland is confident the current squad has the tools to repeat the feat.

“It’s a little harder coming up through the loser’s bracket, but the kids are resilient,” Quelland said. “Hitting is contagious, and we’ve shown we can hit before. We’re going to break out sooner or later.”

A two-out single by Parker Johnson with the bases loaded brought in Lian Lincoln to score the winning run and sent the Wolverines on to the next round of the tournament.

The Twins, meanwhile, were relegated to the double-elimination style loser’s bracket, facing a 9 a.m. matchup today against Fairbanks Post 11, which lost to Juneau 5-2 on Tuesday. From here on out, any loss will end the season.

The loss also erased what began as a fine outing from Twins starter Matthew Daugherty, who allowed just one hit over 6 2-3 innings on the mound. Daugherty also walked four batters and struck out three. Tommy Koloski recorded the win for South with a complete game, giving up six hits and striking out 10.

Leading 3-2 and only three outs away from wrapping up the win, the Twins saw things go downhill quickly. Post 20 pitching ace Joey Becher took the mount to wrap up the game, but Sladen Mohl set things into motion with a single. After stealing second, a Twins throwing error to first base allowed Mohl to score to tie the game up at 3-all.

Becher then walked Jonny Homza to load the bases with two outs, setting up Johnson to hit the walkoff single.

“It’s an emotional loss, that’s for sure,” Quelland said, adding that the team managed to release much of the frustration and tension with a post game workout on the field.

“It was very productive after the game, and hopefully we’ll be able to continue it tomorrow.”

The Twins opened the scoring in the top of the second, starting with a leadoff single by Jake Conver, who then scored on a sacrifice fly by J.J. Sonnen.

In the fifth inning, another leadoff single — this time by Calvin Hills — helped the Twins score two more runs. Kenny Griffin reached base on a fielder’s choice hit, and Hills scored on a South throwing error. Then, Tommy Bowe’s single brought Josh Darrow in to score for a 3-0 lead for the local nine.

South clawed back in the seventh frame, beginning with a steal of home plate by Koloski and continuing with a second run on an RBI single by Bryce Schwarz.

Hills and Conver both led the Twins at the plate with 2 for 4 outings, including a run scored by each. Overall, the Twins had six hits to South’s five. Most striking was the five errors that South committed, while the Twins had one.

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