Twins beat Kodiak on walkoff to move within 1 win of state baseball title game

The Post 20 Twins found a way to stay alive and are now one win away from the Alaska Legion state baseball championship game after an exhilarating 4-3 walkoff win Sunday afternoon over Kodiak.

After two straight days of playing the closeout role on the mound, Austin Asp provided the game-ending fireworks from the plate at Mulcahy Stadium with a single grounded through the middle after David Michael capped a 4-for-4 day with a gametying single of his own.

The victory sent the Twins to the next game, a 3:15 p.m semifinal meeting against West with a spot in Tuesday’s championship game on the line.

“Our team’s identity or style is we take chances,” said Twins head coach Robb Quelland. “Austin hit a hard hit ball to the outfield. Very similar to Dimond, the exact same play.”

The Twins lost Friday’s state opener 3-2 to Dimond on a tag out at the plate.

“This one was successful,” Quelland said. “That’s our style.”

The finish also backed a stellar outing by Twins starter Herald Ochea on the mound, who got through 5 2/3 innings by giving up one unearned run on three hits. Ochea whiffed one and walked four in a 92-pitch performance.

“Our younger players are coming up big,” Quelland said about Ochea’s day. “We had a plan and he exceeded the expectations. A lot of these teams expect high velocity fastballs, and he’s just in the fold with lot our younger pitchers, he’s methodical.”

Also consider this. In each of their two most recent championship runs, the Twins battled back through the loser-out bracket after dropping their opening game.

Trailing by one run in the bottom of the seventh, leadoff man Jeremy Kupferschmid drew a walk and stole second, putting him in perfect position to score on Michael’s single to center field.

Harrison Metz bunted Michael to second base, and after a walk by Adam Brinster, Asp delivered the walkoff knock to send the Bears packing. Kodiak ends its tournament after toppling top-seeded Juneau on the first day.

Kodiak went up 3-2 in the top of the seventh with two runs, an RBI single by Jack Malloy and a Luke James RBI double.

With a semifinal date against the West Eagles, a team the Twins haven’t seen this year, Quelland said the business is about to get very serious.

“Usually the third day (of the tournament) kind of exposes teams, but now we’re in our fourth day,” he said. “We’ll see how many arms we’ve got.”

Quelland added that Michael’s four-hit day — all singles — was just waiting to happen.”

“It was just his time,” he said. “He’s been on the edge of getting back to his form from a year ago. He had a good high school season, but not to his level. Missed some legion games and is just an incredible kid. We just keep moving him up the lineup.”

Earlier, Michael scored on an Adam Brinster single in the third inning to tie the game at one apiece, and Metz scored on a Kodiak error to put the Twins up 2-1. Brinster finished the day 2 for 3. The Twins had eight hits as a team.

After Ochea exited from the game, Austin Ceccarelli pitched an inning of relief, giving up two runs on two hits and one walk. Kupferschmid came in to get the final out.

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