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Sunday: Twins lose in pool play to Eagle River, face Service in Monday’s semifinals

Post 20 places 5 on Team of Excellence; Quelland gets co-Coach of Year

The Post 20 Twins lost to Eagle River 8-4 on Sunday at the 71st Alaska Legion Baseball State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

Both the Twins and Wolves were already guaranteed to advance out of pool play and into the semifinals before the game.

The No. 3 seed Twins (21-11-1) will face No. 2 Service (24-7) in the Monday semifinals at 2:30 p.m., while No. 5 Dimond (18-10) goes against top seed Eagle River (24-8) at 5:30 p.m.

Way back on June 7, in just their second and third games of the season, the Twins lost to Service 10-0 and 8-0.

“The top four teams are all good,” Twins coach Robb Quelland said. “There’s nobody saying, ‘We’re glad we’re playing that guy.’”

Saturday, two-time defending champ Eagle River had set the record for most consecutive victories at state with nine. Sunday, the Wolves made it 10 by topping the Twins for the third time in four tries this season.

Eagle River took a 4-0 lead after two innings. After the Twins cut it to 4-3 in the top of the third, the Wolves stretched the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the fifth, the Twins cut it to 5-4, but the Wolves scored twice in the bottom of the fifth — on a two-run home run by Alex Mullen — and once in the bottom of the sixth.

The Twins were able to play an errorless game, but Quelland said it’s the little things that matter when the level of baseball gets this high.

“Our pitching could have been a little bit better,” he said. “We didn’t pitch as well as we could have.

“And we didn’t help our pitchers by not hitting.”

Quelland said the biggest problem for his pitchers were walks. Five of the eight runs for Eagle River reached on walks or hit batters.

The Post 20 coach said Eagle River is the best small ball team in the state, and giving the Wolves free runners is a recipe for disaster.

Hunter Williams pitched the first three innings for the Twins, giving up five runs on two hits while walking four and striking out four.

Andrew Pieh went 1 1-3 innings, giving up two runs on a hit while walking one. Derrick Jones pitched the last 1 2-3 innings, giving up a run on three hits while walking one and striking out one.

Eagle River pitchers were more wild than Twins pitchers, walking nine.

The Twins had five hits to the six of Eagle River, but did not come through in as many clutch situations.

Post 20 left 10 on, while the Wolves left six. The Twins also struck out nine times compared to the five of Eagle River.

“We did not put the ball in play enough when we had the opportunity to score,” Quelland said.

Williams had a hit and a run for the Twins, while Charlie Chamberlain had a hit, run and an RBI, Jayden Stuyvesant had two runs, Pieh and Gabe Smith had an hit and an RBI, Levi Mickelson had an RBI and Braden Smith had a hit.

Legion Team of Excellence selections

All five of the players the Twins submitted to the Legion Team of Excellence ballot either got on the first team or honorable mention.

“It’s based on performance, but it’s also based on character,” Quelland said. “The Twins are a great program. We hear it all over the place. People admire how we do things.”

Charlie Chamberlain led the way by making the first team at both pitcher and infielder.

Quelland said Chamberlain is a talented athlete and a very hard worker who just blossomed this season.

He made 10 appearances on the mound and went 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA. He struck out six and walked 16 in 17 innings pitched.

Chamberlain also played a sparkling third base for the Twins, hitting .359 in 29 games. He had 35 RBIs, 23 walks, 22 runs and nine stolen bases.

Malakai Olson also made the first team at pitcher. He appeared in eight games and was 3-1 with a 1.51 ERA. He struck out 27 and walked 15 in 32 1-3 innings pitched.

Atticus Gibson also made the first team at utility player. He hit .387 in 28 games, knocking two home runs and 24 RBIs with 12 walks and eight runs.

Gibson also made honorable mention at pitcher. He appeared in 13 games and had an 0-1 record with one save and a 3.55 ERA. He struck out 19 and walked seven in 19 2-3 innings pitched.

Hunter Williams also was honorable mention at pitcher, going 2-2 in eight appearances with a 5.02 ERA. He struck out 10 and walked 16 in 15 1-3 innings pitched.

Williams also made honorable mention at utility player. He hit .325 in 25 games, with 13 RBIs, 20 walks, 28 runs and seven stolen bases.

Jace Crall made it three Kodiak players on the Team of Excellence, joining Olson and Williams, by making honorable mention at infield.

He played in 28 games, hitting .329 with 17 RBIs, 15 walks, 17 runs and nine stolen bases.

Quelland also was named Coach of the Year along with Eagle River’s Bill Lierman, Service’s Willie Paul and Chugiak’s John Sims.

“It’s a team win, it’s not my accolade,” Quelland said. “It just shows my team played well.”

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