The Post 20 Twins saw their season end Sunday with a 4-3 loss to Juneau at the American Legion state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.
After the Twins, the No. 4 seed, scored three runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 3, Juneau, the No. 2 seed and two-time defending state champs, pushed across a run in the bottom of the sixth.
“It was a great game, we just made a couple mistakes, some on the base paths,” Twins coach Robb Quelland said after the local nine came up short of repeating state titles of 1991, 1995, 2012 and 2016. “Anytime you are the underdog against the two-time defending state champions, a couple of mistakes will probably cost you.
“I’m very proud of these young men.”
The Twins, who finish 22-13-1 overall, tried to battle back with one away in the top of the seventh when David Michael doubled but was out trying to stretch the play to a triple due to what Quelland said was a miscommunication.
Mose Hayes pitched all six innings for the Twins, giving up four runs — three earned — on just four hits while walking five and striking out three.
“Mose Hayes was a warrior on the mound once again,” Quelland said.
Three of the runs Hayes gave up came on a wild pitch, passed ball and sacrifice fly.
Quelland said Juneau has an older roster, but his team did not back down.
“We went toe-to-toe with them,” said Quelland, whose team outhit Juneau 8-4. “A couple of plays didn’t go in our favor and in baseball it’s all about the little things.”
On defense, Quelland said Michael, the shortstop, made an impressive play going to his right.
The Twins had hits up and down the lineup with Michael and Tanner Ussing leading the way with two hits, and Jeremy Kupferschmid, Seth Adkins, Harrison Metz and Logan Smith collecting a hit apiece.
Donavin McCurley went all seven for Juneau, giving up eight hits and three runs while walking five and striking out four.
“I just wish we had one more week to play,” Quelland said. “We were just starting to click.”
Smith, Michael, Kupferschmid and Adkins aged out of Legion play.
“We have a solid core coming back,” Quelland said. “They’re young, eager and, from the first day of practice to this tournament, they got to see what it takes to compete at this level.”
Quelland said he’s proud of what the Twins are able to do despite combining three schools together and still coming up short on numbers. The Twins had just 12 players this year and two coaches. They still made the state tournament for the 33rd straight year.
Quelland also said opposing teams were cheering for the Twins against Juneau.
“That tells you how much the program is liked and respected when your competition is wishing you well,” he said.
Also Sunday, the Legion Team of Excellence was announced, with Smith and Hayes getting the call at starting pitcher, and Michael making it at infielder. Hayes also was honorable mention at infield, while Smith was honorable mention at utility player.
Smith, a 2018 graduate of Soldotna High School, did not play in college this year. He helped coach SoHi then had a season for the Twins that earned him a baseball slot at Pierce College in Puyallup, Washington.
“We are so proud of him,” Quelland said. “He took a year off to stay home with family and find himself. He helped coach the high school team and we look forward to him playing in college.”
Hayes proved himself once again Sunday.
“Just talk about a solid young man,” Quelland said. “He has the wrestling mentality. He’s a state wrestler. No challenge is too big for him. He thrives on competition and the big game.”
Michael will play baseball at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo County, California.
Also for the Twins, Harrison Metz earned honorable mention as a pitcher and utility player and Kupferschmid earned honorable mention in the outfield.
Both Kupferschmid and Adkins will try to walk on at college — Kupferschmid at Western Colorado in Gunnison and Adkins at Chapman University in Orange, California.