The American Legion Twins fell in a doubleheader sweep Saturday to cap a winless weekend road trip.
Host South handed the Twins their first league loss of the season on Friday, taking down the local nine 5-4, and on Saturday, the team dropped a 9-8 nonleague contest to East Post 34, then took a 6-2 league loss to Dimond Post 21.
The losses left the Twins at third in the league at 5-2 and 7-5 overall.
In Saturday’s opener against Dimond, the Twins struggled with three errors and stranded 10 men on base. Logan Smith led the Twins with a 2-for-3 day while Jeremy Kupferschmid and Adam Brinster each notched a base hit.
Brinster was chased after 2 1/3 innings in the start for the Twins after giving up four runs on five walks and two hits while whiffing two.
Austin Asp went the final 3 2/3 frames in relief and struck out three. Asp gave up zero earned runs on a walk and two hits.
Jake Andresen tossed a strong six innings for Dimond, striking out seven on four hits and no earned runs, even while walking seven. Andresen is the nephew of John Kennedy, a former coach for Kenai Central, Post 20 and the Peninsula Oilers. Andresen will join Twins’ Paul Steffensen at Mesa Community College in Arizona next season. Quinn Bates Janico had a scoreless, hitless inning of relief with one strikeout.
Post 20 took a 2-0 lead in the first inning but Dimond answered with a run in the bottom of the first, then took the lead with three runs in the third.
Steffensen led off the first by reaching on an error by Dimond shortstop Janico, then scored on a ground-out by Brinster. Jeremy Kupferschmid scored on a passed ball by Dimond catcher Jack Dolan to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.
The Lynx responded with a leadoff walk by Adam Boyce, who came around to score on an Andresen ground-out.
In the bottom of the third, Janico tied the game on an RBI single and Boyce put Dimond ahead on a Twins error. The Lynx scored again on a sacrifice fly by Dolan before the Twins were able to get out of the inning on a strikeout by Asp.
The Lynx tacked on a run in both the fourth and fifth innings for insurance.
In the second game against East, the Twins again took an early lead, only to see it vanish in one mistake-filled inning. Post 20 staked out a 5-1 advantage but fell victim to eight runs in the bottom of the fourth by the Thunderbirds.
East brought 12 batters to the plate, with the first four reaching on three singles and an error. Chase Sulberg and Azzur Neely both plated runs with RBI singles, and both batters scored on Twins errors to tie the game.
Johnny Earhart then put Dimond ahead 7-5 on a two-run double, a lead the Lynx kept for good.
In all, six runs scored before the first out could be recorded. By the time the damage was done, the T-Birds held a 9-5 advantage. The sloppy game by the Twins resulted in seven errors, and from the dish, Post 20 left nine men on base.
The Twins scored once in each the fifth and sixth innings on passed-ball runs to steadily close the gap, and in the top of the seventh, Austin Ceccarelli belted an RBI single to close the gap to one, but a strikeout by Logan Smith ended the rally and the game.
Kupferschmid pitched two scoreless, hitless innings for the Twins before making his exit, but reliever Davey Belger struggled in his inning of work, giving up six runs (four earned) on three hits and a walk with one strikeout.
Harrison Metz ultimately took the loss with an inning of relief, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk. Cody Quelland closed out the effort with two strikeouts and a hit in two innings.
Andrew Carver finished 2 for 3 for the Twins, while Cody Quelland, David Michael, Jacob Boze, Brinster and Asp all provided a hit each.
Friday, South and Post 20 went into the bottom of the seventh inning knotted at 4, but the first three runners reached base against Twins reliever Steffensen. Steffensen then walked Reid Brock to force in Gunner Nix with the winning run.
“It was a well-played game,” Twins coach Robb Quelland said. “These guys lean on each other and trust each other. We just came up a couple of pitches short.”
Quelland said it was one of those games where it seemed South’s hits were constantly finding holes, while the Twins were driving the ball at defenders.
South took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but the Twins scored in the second and third innings to tie the game up. South went up 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Twins came back to tie it in the top of the sixth.
Smith got the start for the Twins and went 4 2-3 innings, giving up four runs — three earned — on eight hits while walking five and striking out four. Steffensen went 1 1-3 innings, giving up four hits and a run while walking two.
Quelland said the team played great defensively, with right fielder Metz throwing out a runner at third and center fielder Kupferschmid throwing out a runner at home.
Cody Quelland led the Twins at the plate by going 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI, while Trapper Thompson was 2 for 4 and Kupferschmid, Steffensen, Michael, Metz and Smith added hits.
“I’m excited about how we hit lower in the lineup,” Quelland said.