The Kenai Twins split league games in their weekend opener at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark in Kenai against Anchorage teams on Saturday and Sunday.
Kenai’s head coach Robb Quelland said the beginning of the season is always tough.
“The first opening weekends are always a trial and error,” he said. “ [We’re] trying to figure out where everybody fits.”
The Twins have players spanning 13- to 18-year-olds, and they’re mostly all playing together for the first time.
“The growth in just four games is incredible,” Quelland said after their second double-header of the weekend.
Kenai 8, East 7
The Twins scooted past East Anchorage to claim a narrow win on Sunday after an initial six-run deficit, 8-7. This was their first league win of the season.
“I think that was just the resilience of these young players,” Quelland said. “Just because you get down a few runs doesn’t mean the game is over.”
East took to the board early, scoring six runs on three base hits and two early Kenai errors in the top of the second inning.
In the bottom of the third the Twins turned on their bats, scoring two runs to get on the board.
Kenai held Anchorage in their next at-bat, and then scored another two runs in the bottom of the fourth, bringing the score to 6-4.
The Twins cleaned up their defense on the field in the second half of the game. Kenai’s starting catcher Jacob Belger made three instrumental foul ball and bunt pop-outs.
In the bottom of the fifth the Twins capitalized on their momentum — they put the ball in play and forced East to execute. Kenai scored two runs on a misread in the outfield to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth, 8-6.
Belger took the mound in the top of the seventh and Dodge Petrosius subbed in to catch.
Anchorage came back in the final inning, scoring one run on an infield error and putting more runners in scoring position.
With the tying run on third, East’s batter stepped up to the plate. Petrosius bobbled the pitch as the third base runner took a big lead, looking to score on a pass ball. Petrosius gathered it in time and threw back to Atticus Gibson on third, forcing the Anchorage player into a run-down.
Belger covered home plate, eventually tagging the third base runner for the 2-5-1 out to win the game.
The Twins won in eight runs with six hits and four errors. East had seven runs, six hits and one error.
Nick Wehrstein, Sammy Berry and Harrison Metz batted one for two for Kenai. Daltyn Deborski went one for three and both Levi Mickelson and Andrew Pieh went one for four.
Gibson threw the first five innings, striking out three and surrendering five hits and four walks. Belger closed the last two innings on the mound. He surrendered one hit and walked one.
Dimond 8, Kenai 1
Kenai couldn’t find enough ways to score in their first league game against Anchorage’s Dimond American Legion team at home on Saturday.
Scoreless for two innings, Anchorage started hitting in the top of the third and the Twins were unable to catch up.
Dimond scored one run in the top of the third inning, three in the top of the fifth and sixth, and another one at their last at-bat in the top of the seventh.
Kenai made an attempt to level out the score a bit in the bottom of the seventh inning, with one run, but couldn’t overcome Dimond’s defense.
The Twins lost with a run on two hits and five errors. Dimond won in eight runs, nine hits and one error.
Metz batted one for two and Mickelson went one for three on Saturday.
Metz pitched 5.1 innings. He struck out seven, walked two and gave up six hits. Deborski only saw a few batters in less than half an inning, and surrendered one hit. Belger also threw for an inning. He walked one and allowed two hits.
The Twins also split their non-league games on Saturday and Sunday. Quelland said it was a good opportunity to get everyone on the team some playing time.
Kenai fell to Dimond, 22-1, on Saturday with one run on two hits and three errors. Anchorage had 22 runs on 16 hits and zero errors.
They beat East Anchorage, 12-4, on Sunday. Kenai had 12 runs on 10 hits and five errors. East had four runs on five hits and four errors.
The Kenai Twins are now 1-1 in the regular season.
Reach reporter Camille Botello at firstname.lastname@example.org.