The Legion AA Twins opened their 2019 summer with a pair of losses to Chugiak Saturday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, losing the league game 13-3 and the nonleague contest 14-8.
The Twins return Sunday for a doubleheader against Eagle River, with a league game at noon and a nonleague game at 3 p.m.
At the end of the day, facing a perennial powerhouse like Chugiak, Twins head coach Robb Quelland chalked it up to playing a bit rusty. Players from Soldotna, Kenai Central and Homer high schools have not been in games for nearly two weeks, while the Mustangs are fresh off a run at the high school state tournament last weekend.
“It is the reality we face of having two weeks off,” Quelland said. “Our last game was two weeks ago Saturday, and Chugiak is ahead of us. Our arms have been sitting for two weeks.
“Not only are we rusty, but it’s also a combination of moving players around, seeing what works.”
The Twins committed eight errors in the first game and seven in the second.
Homer pitcher Harrison Metz got the start for Post 20 in the first game, going 3 2/3 innings before being pulled after giving up five runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks.
Logan Smith, Mose Hayes and Tanner Ussing finished the job in relief. Smith, a 2018 SoHi grad who hasn’t pitched in game situations since last August, gave up seven runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks over 1 2/3 frames. Hayes and Ussing combined for the final five outs, giving up just one unearned run.
Chugiak starter Sam Hall held control the entire way, giving up three unearned runs on eight hits and one walk over six innings, while striking out six. Camden Costanos finished up the final frame in relief with a perfect inning.
The Mustangs took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third on an error, but the Twins came back to tie it at 2 apiece in the bottom of the frame. Metz and Jeremy Kupferschmid both reached base on bunt hits, then scored on an error by Chugiak’s second baseman.
However, Chugiak retook the lead with three runs in the top of the fourth, starting with a two-run double by Mason Peace, to go up 5-2.
The Mustangs tacked on seven more runs in the sixth inning to effectively seal the win.
Kupferschmid finished the day 3 for 4 to lead the Twins, while Jacob Boze went 2 for 3. Metz, Ussing and Davey Belger also ended up with base hits.
In the second game of the day, an eight-run rally in the top of the seventh by Chugiak doomed the Twins.
Boze again went 2 for 3 for the Twins, and had two RBIs. Harrison Metz was 1 for 4 with two RBIs, while Kupferschmid, Jacob Belger and Harold Ochea each had a base hit.
The Twins took a 4-3 lead after two innings thanks to bases-loaded walks drawn by Ussing and Boze that forced in a pair of runs, but the Mustangs came back with two runs in the top of the third to take a 5-4 lead.
The Twins went back up 8-6 with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by a two-run single by Metz, but the eight-run letdown in the seventh erased it. In all, six Chugiak batters reached in the inning via the walk or hit-by-pitch, while four runners reached on error.