The Post 20 Twins ran their winning streak to five games by sweeping Chugiak on Sunday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in American Legion action.
The Twins are now 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the league. The Mustangs fall to 4-2 in the league and 5-3 overall.
In the first game, the Twins were able to notch a 6-3, conference victory over Chugiak without getting a base hit while a runner was in scoring position.
The Twins beat the Mustangs 17-7 in the second game — a game that went just five innings due to the mercy rule. Josiah Covey had a double, triple and home run. He flew out to center in his last at-bat as he pursued the cycle.
While the Twins showed they could win with their bats in the second game, solid pitching, airtight defense and aggressive baserunning by Post 20 were the difference in the first game.
"We didn't play a clean game on defense and on the basepaths," Chugiak coach Bill Lierman said. "That's what I told them after the game.
"It's a mental thing with the 2 1/2-hour drive down here, but that's not an excuse."
Chugiak banged out nine hits, while the Twins had eight, but the game came down to defense and baserunning and the Twins won in that department.
The Twins grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Brian Rowe tripled and scored on a ground-out by AJ Hull, but after that Post 20 became far more creative in scoring runs.
In the fourth inning, Hector Rivera struck out on a ball in the dirt with Hull on third. Hull scored when the catcher threw down to first to retire Rivera.
"We're not going to back down with our baserunning," Twins head coach Gary Oliver said. "With our speed, we're going to use it to our advantage to score runs any way we can."
Errors by center fielder Blake Kutch then led to a run in the fifth inning and two runs in the sixth inning. Ethan Oliver, who reached on Kutch's error in the sixth, scored on a ground-out to third base.
Lierman said Kutch is a sophomore. He said Chugiak rotates in players to make sure everybody has a chance to develop.
"Our guys did a good job bouncing back from those errors," Lierman said.
The Twins final run came in the eighth when Hull was hit by a pitch, stole second and third, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Covey.
"He always gets around for me," Covey said of the speedy Hull.
All the runs scored in odd ways led to a hard-luck loss for Chugiak starter Justin Schneider. He pitched seven innings and gave up eight hits and five runs — two earned.
"Schneider threw a good game," Lierman said. "He didn't get everything he should have out of that."
When Chugiak was at the plate, the Twins made the Mustangs work for all of their runs by committing no errors and making several rally-killing plays.
In the third, Chugiak had runners on first and third with one out but the Twins ended the inning with a double play. In the fourth, Deven Harris singled in Cameron Fritz and made his way to second with nobody out, but that rally was snuffed when Fritz was caught trying to advance to third on a grounder back to pitcher Hull.
Twins catcher Zack Mese caught two runners stealing, while Ethan Oliver cut down Schneider at the plate when he tried to score on a bloop single in the seventh.
"We've got good speed on defense and good arms on defense so that should be a strength for us," coach Oliver said.
Covey, 19, attended Kenai Peninsula College this year and will play baseball next year at Wenatchee Valley College in Wenatchee, Wash. He said the Twins are a mature team and it showed Sunday.
"We've got a lot of the same players back from last year but it seems different," Covey said. "They all have another high school season under their belt."
The Twins also showed their pitching depth. Hull got the start and gave up one run and five hits through five innings to get the win.
Hull threw 95 pitches through five innings, but the Twins bullpen was deep enough to bring home the win.
Max Hegge gave up two runs on three hits in one inning, but Covey pitched two innings of scoreless ball and Mitchel Daugherty notched the save with a perfect ninth.
"We have very good depth at pitching," Oliver said. "We're not going to hesitate to bring anybody in."
Rowe and Covey each had two hits to lead the Twins. For Chugiak, Conner Cimmiyotti was 3 for 5, while Fritz was 2 for 4 with two runs.
In the second game, the Twins jumped on Chugiak starter and loser Brandon Neal early for the victory.
Covey also had three runs and four RBI, while Hector Rivera was 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBI, Tommy Bowe was 2 for 2 with a run and an RBI, and Hull was 2 for 3 with three runs and four RBI.
The Twins pitched by committee. Tay Harling gave up one run in the first inning in taking the win. Ethan Oliver pitched two hitless innings. Hegge pitched an inning and gave up two hits and no runs. Dallas Pierren gave up six runs in the fifth inning, but Daugherty came in to slam the door.
The Twins travel to Anchorage to play West in a 12:30 p.m. doubleheader Saturday. Sunday, the Twins stay north to face Chugiak in a 12:30 p.m. twin bill.
Twins 6, Chugiak 3, Game 1
Schneider, Cimmiyotti (8) and Wilson, Spohn (8); Hull, Hegge (6), Covey (7), Daugherty (9) and Mese. W — Hull. L — Schneider. S — Daugherty. 3D — Twins: Rowe. LOB – Chugiak 9, Twins 3.
Twins 17, Chugiak 7, Game 2
Neal, Fugere (2), Kutch (3) and Spohn; Harling, Oliver (2), Hegge (4), Pierren (5), Daugherty (5) and Mese. W —Harling. L — Neal. 2B — Twins: Covey. 3B — Chugiak: Ferris; Twins: Hull, Covey, Rivera 2. HR — Twins: Covey. LOB — Mustangs 6, Twins 7.