Clarion Post 20 Twins shortstop Josh Darrow slides into home plate to score in July 2019 at the Kenai Little League fields. (Clarion file photo)

Clarion Post 20 Twins shortstop Josh Darrow slides into home plate to score in July 2019 at the Kenai Little League fields. (Clarion file photo)

Twins prepare for Saturday’s home opener

Coach Robb Quelland said he has some of the best kids on the peninsula on the Twins team.

The Kenai Twins Post 20 American Legion baseball team kicks off the summer season this weekend, with games against Dimond and East on Saturday and Sunday.

This is Robb Quelland’s first year as the head coach, who is taking over after the death of his predecessor Lance Coz last fall.

Quelland said Coz would have wanted the team to keep playing baseball.

“Everything he did was for the kids,” Quelland said.

Coz had coached the team since 1975. He led the team to the state tournament 43 times in his 45 years with the team, according to Alaska Legion Baseball.

Coz died of heart failure in September 2020.

This season, Quelland said he’s fortunate to be able to coach a combined team — with players from Soldotna, Kenai, Nikiski and Homer.

“It’s a good group — we have some new players and some returning old players,” he said.

Quelland said he has some of the best kids on the peninsula on the Twins team, including six players who were all-conference on their high school teams.

Daltyn Deborski, Atticus Gibson and Jacob Belger join the Twins summer ball program from Soldotna, as well as Sam Berry from Nikiski, Nick Wehrstein from Kenai and Harrison Metz from Homer.

Quelland said most of the American Legion teams are traditional programs that are a continuation of the regular high school season. The Twins are different — the boys haven’t been playing with each other since April. They’ve been playing against each other.

Quelland said without detailed scouting reports on their opponents and putting the boys together for the first time this season, his strategy for opening day is pretty wide open. People can expect to see a lot of defensive, especially pitching, changes.

The Twins face off at home against Dimond for a double header on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. On Sunday, they play another double header at home against East, at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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