The No. 8 seed Post 20 Twins dropped their opener in the American Legion Alaska State Tournament to Juneau Post 25 on Tuesday at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.
The game was scheduled for nine innings, but Juneau invoked the mercy rule after 6 1-2 innings due to the 14-0 score.
The Twins, the defending state champs, are now down to their last chance in the double-elimination tournament. Post 20 and Dimond will fight for survival today in a noon game at Mulcahy Stadium. The Twins and Dimond split a pair of games this season.
“That’s part of the excitement of the tournament being a double-elimination tournament,” Twins coach Robb Quelland said. “You can have an off game and you get to play again, but you can’t have two off games.
“Our players responded. They learned a lot tonight. They saw what a mature, older team with skilled players looks like. They saw how they react and what they take advantage of.”
Juneau came into the game 17-1 in the league and 22-2 overall, while the Twins finished the regular season at 11-7 and 17-13.
The Midnight Suns moved quickly to assure there would be no upset. Juneau led 6-0 after the first inning, 9-0 after the second inning and 11-0 after the third inning.
“The first inning kind of set the tone for the game,” Quelland said.
Mose Hayes took the loss for the Twins, pitching the first 2 1-3 innings and giving up 11 runs — nine earned — on eight hits while walking five. Tanner Ussing then came in and yielded three runs and three hits in 3 1-3 innings while walking three and fanning one, while David Belger got the last out while giving up a hit and a walk.
“When you play a team of that caliber and quality, they capitalized on every mistake we made,” Quelland said.
Juneau finished with 12 hits, while the Twins had three. They came from Paul Steffensen, Jeremy Kupferschmid and Ussing. Juneau used four pitchers in the game, keeping the Twins off-balance.
“We’re just young and we haven’t seen that caliber of pitching on a regular basis,” Quelland said.
Live scoring and video of the state games is available at alaskalegion.com.