The American Legion Twins picked up their first victory of the season Sunday in the second game of a doubleheader against Chugiak at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
After dropping the first game 10-3 in seven innings due to the mercy rule, the Twins won the second game 6-3. The second contest went the scheduled seven innings.
The Twins are now 1-5 overall and 1-3 in the league, while the Mustangs sit at 5-5 overall and 5-5 in the league.
Gresham Oliver, the assistant head coach for the Twins, said he was happy with the way his team responded to the first-game loss.
“We didn’t have any errors in the second game,” Oliver said. “That was definitely a good way to finish off a day that didn’t start as well as we wanted it to.”
The Twins are still struggling to get their entire team into the lineup. Starters AJ Hull and Ethan Oliver were not with the team due to football camp, while starters Jake Darrow and Mitchell Thompson have joined the team but did not suit up Sunday.
“We have not had a single practice that everybody on the varsity team has been to,” Gresham Oliver said.
Oliver said the bright spot was the second-game performance of two pitchers just back from basketball camp. Mitchel Daugherty got the start and gave up three runs on three hits in three innings. Miles Jones blanked the Mustangs over the final four innings on just one hit.
Meanwhile, the Twins got to Chugiak starter and loser Chase Wilson for six runs on seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Oliver said his young team hit much better in the second game than in the first game, when the Twins struck out 13 times.
“We went young today,” Oliver said of the first-game hitting. “It was a learning experience.”
Kevin Rowe was 2-for-3 with a run and walk in the second game.
Shayne Miller had a hit, run and two RBIs; and Josiah Covey had a hit and three runs.
In the first game, Chugiak showed no ill effects from a late arrival at the park.
The Mustangs did not arrive for the noon game until 11:10 a.m., so they didn’t get to practice hitting before the game. Chugiak still was able to bang out 10 hits.
“We didn’t get any pregame hitting, but the guys responded well to that,” said Chugiak head coach Doug Henie.
Except for some wildness from starting pitcher Justin Schneider, the Mustangs actually played well in all three phases of the game despite the lack of pregame preparation.
On offense, every Chugiak player except for one scored a run. Cameron Fritz was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, while Deven Ferriss and Chase Gall also had two hits.
The Mustangs also executed on offense. Henie pointed to a bunt that Nick Bozzo got down in the fifth inning as a key point in the game.
On defense, Chugiak played errorless ball.
“When our starters are out there, we’re a pretty good fielding team,” Henie said. “I’d put us up there with anybody when our starting pitching is throwing strikes.”
Schneider pitched the first three innings and walked seven. He was able to limit the damage to three runs because he only gave up one hit and struck out seven.
Henie said Schneider has great stuff, but must work on his control.
“Eighty-some pitches in three innings is not doing anybody any good,” Henie said.
Gall came in for the fourth inning with his team on top 5-3. He coasted to the finish line, allowing three hits without any runs or walks. He struck out six.
“It took a long time to get here, so we didn’t want to travel that far without getting a win,” Gall said.
Tay Harling took the loss for the Twins, giving up eight runs — six earned — in four innings. Kevin Rowe gave up two runs in 2 2-3 innings, while Jones recorded the final out while facing just one batter.
Hits for the Twins came from Jones, Kevin Rowe, Max Hegge and Mason Kanakis.
The Twins travel to Wasilla on Wednesday for a 12:30 p.m. doubleheader. Oliver said the full team will be together by next weekend.