The American Legion Twins wrapped up pool play Saturday at the BP Invitational tournament in Anchorage with a 2-1 record, giving them the top seed headed into today’s final day of action at Mulcahy Field.
Post 20 opened the tournament Friday with a 5-4 loss to South Post 4, but finished with a 7-1 win Friday night over Hawaii and an 8-6 victory Saturday afternoon over Chugiak Post 33.
The results give Post 20 the higher seed in an 11:45 a.m. matchup today against Service Post 28. The winner will play in the championship game at 7:30 p.m.
Playing against the only team that has beaten them in league play this summer, the Twins were looking for a win over South Post 4 Friday afternoon, even if the game meant nothing in the Legion standings.
Ultimately, Post 20 came up short in the 5-4 loss, but Twins coach Robb Quelland said the contest still provided a moral victory.
“We battled, and it was a great thing,” Quelland said. “Looking back, it was a loss in the scorebook but a victory for our team.”
South defeated the Twins 7-2 just one week prior, handing them their first league loss of the summer with a 13-1 record. Post 20 currently stands at 23-5 overall after Saturday’s action.
The Wolverines started their ace pitcher, Tommy Koloski, who tossed a complete, seven-inning game and gave up four earned runs on six hits, while striking out four and issuing four walks.
Mathew Daugherty started and went four innings for the Twins, giving up three runs on three hits. Paul Steffensen and Gavin Petterson combined for the final two frames of relief.
The Wolverines built up a 3-0 lead with two runs in the second inning and one in the fourth, but Post 20 rallied back with three runs in the fifth, starting with an RBI double by Josh Darrow that scored Mason Prior, who drew a walk. Cody Quelland then scored on a ground out by Paul Steffenson, and Darrow scored the tying run on a single by Kenny Griffin.
However, the good times didn’t last long for the Twins. Griffin was picked off at first base to end the rally, and South answered in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs. South’s Julito Fazzini was walked with the bases loaded to send home the go-ahead run, and Parker Johnson brought in another run on a groundout to give South a 5-3 lead.
Darrow and Griffin both finished with two hits apiece to lead the Twins at the plate.
“I think we just came out sluggish and had too many mistakes,” Quelland said. “The pitching also wasn’t as sharp as we wanted.”
Friday night against Hawaii, Joey Becher pitched a complete game for Post 20 with two hits, zero earned runs, nine strikeouts and three walks.
The Twins opened the scoring with two runs in the first inning. Kenny Griffin’s single led to a throwing error charged to Hawaii first baseman Jon Arevalo, allowing Griffin to reach third and Paul Steffenson to score for a 1-0 lead. Griffin eventually scored on Hawaii’s throw to first when Calvin Hills grounded out.
Mathew Daugherty had three RBI on a double in the bottom of the sixth to open up a 7-1 lead.
Saturday against Chugiak — a squad that Becher no-hit on June 11 — the Twins scored the victory in a mistake-filled game. The two teams combined for nine errors on the day, five by the Twins.
“We had some errors that should not have been made,” Quelland said.
The Twins scored five runs in the bottom of the second inning, starting with a two-RBI single by J.J. Sonnen, then added one apiece in the third, fourth and sixth frames.
Post 20 outhit the Mustangs 11 to 4, led by Paul Steffenson’s 3-for-4 day with two RBI.
Petterson started and went 3 1-3 innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on just one hit, while issuing just four walks. Darrow went two-thirds of an inning and gave up three runs on three hits.
Calvin Hills entered in relief and threw three scoreless innings with two strikeouts and zero walks.
“What a work horse on the back end of the rotation,” Quelland said about Hills.
With a potential 52 innings of work over six straight days, Quelland said the pitching staff is coming through when he needs them to.
“We’re excited about getting the experience and playing time with great, competitive teams, but it’s a tasking element to a team in a short period of time,” he said. “Our players are responding well, they’re taking care of injuries, and we’re utilizing a lot of pitchers.
“It says a lot about our players that they can do it.”
The Twins lost Thursday’s Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat tournament championship game 3-2 to Columbia, Tennessee.