The American Legion Twins were swept in a Thursday league doubleheader, losing to Service 6-3 before dropping a 3-1 league game to Ketchikan.
The double league losses left the Twins with a 6-4 league record and 9-7 overall.
“Our pitching was good,” said Post 20 head coach Robb Quelland. “All four of our guys threw well, and it should’ve been good enough to win.”
The Twins will continue on to play North Pole at Bartlett High School — sans the Quellands — today with games at 3 and 6:30 p.m.
After making his final career appearances for Post 20, starting with a four-inning stint against Service, Cody Quelland left with his family to catch a flight for military school at West Point, New York. Coach and father Robb Quelland said he was proud of his son’s commitment to his secondary education, and said a host of family members in attendance made the day all the more special.
“I think he did phenomenal for the pressure he was under,” Quelland said. “He’s a veteran of this team, and he played well, maybe not his best game, but he did better than I would’ve done.”
Prior to catching the late Thursday night flight, Quelland was tasked with starting on the mound against Service. The recent SoHi graduate went four innings and gave up five runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk, while whiffing four.
Another of the team’s senior leaders, Paul Steffensen, came on in relief and tossed the final two frames, giving up one hit to keep Service scoreless, with two strikeouts and no walks.
The Twins tied it at 3-all in the top of the fourth, but the Cougars plated three runs in the bottom of the frame to take a lead they wouldn’t give up. It also didn’t help that the Twins left nine on base to Service’s three.
“We had too many errors and costly mistakes,” Quelland said. “We had plays we should’ve made, routine plays that didn’t happen.”
Steffensen was 2 for 4 with an RBI to lead the Twins, while Quelland finished 1 for 4 with a run. Austin Asp, Logan Smith and Harrison Metz each finished with a base hit as well.
“Our hitting at the back end of the lineup was evident today,” Quelland said. “The Service pitcher was throwing well … he had a nice curveball and his offspeed stuff was good.”
Henry Helgeson earned the win for the Cougars with 3 1-3 innings of scoreless relief, giving up just two hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Jaren Childs started the game and lasted 2 2-3 frames with two runs on three hits and a walk while whiffing two.
Trailing by two in the top of the third, Steffensen singled with one out, then scored on a triple by Quelland. Jeremy Kupferschmid then knocked in Quelland on a ground-out to tie the contest at 2-all.
However, in the bottom half, Ronan Klancher put Service back up 3-2 on an RBI single.
Steffensen tied the game with an RBI triple in the top of the fourth, but Quelland and Kupferschmid struck out with Steffensen on third as the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the fourth, Sean Griffen put the Cougars ahead again with an RBI ground-out. Service tacked on an insurance run on a passed ball.
In the late game against Ketchikan, the Twins fell short despite a stellar outing on the mound from Logan Smith.
Smith pitched into the final frame before being pulled, finishing with 6 1-3 innings under his belt. Smith left with eight strikeouts to only three walks, and gave up three unearned runs on three hits. Asp finished the final two outs in the seventh with one hit, one strikeout and no runs.
Quelland said Smith worked the count well with a tough fastball to keep the Kings off balance.
“You can’t ask much more than that from a senior leader,” Quelland said.
However, Smith was matched by Ketchikan starter Liam Kiffer, who tossed five shutout innings against the Twins, giving up just two hits and four walks while whiffing seven.
“It was the same thing, they threw a kid in there that had a really good fastball and a better curve,” Quelland explained. “He pounded the plate all game long and exposed us and it showed.”
Quelland, Steffensen, Asp and Metz all finished with a hit against Ketchikan, although Robb Quelland said Steffensen had a pair of loud flyouts that barely fell short of the outfield fence.
“Overall we didn’t have timely hits,” he said.
Ketchikan steadily built up a 3-0 lead with runs in the first, third and fifth innings.
The Twins finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth, starting with a leadoff single by Asp, who scored on a two-out single by Metz.
The Twins twice had the bases loaded — in the fifth and sixth innings — but failed to score any runners both times.