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Twins notch sweep of Bartlett

Posted: July 1, 2012 - 11:35pm  |  Updated: July 2, 2012 - 7:04pm

The Post 20 Twins swept Bartlett in a doubleheader Sunday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, winning the first game 11-1 and the second game 11-10.

The Twins moved their record to 14-6 overall and 8-2 in the league.

According to alaskalegion.com, the Twins have the lowest number of losses in league play. The Twins are listed in fourth place in the state standings because four points are given for a win, and the Twins have not played as many games as the three teams ahead of them.

In the first — and league — game, which was stopped during the bottom of the seventh due to the mercy rule, the Twins used a five-run third inning to take control.

Bartlett took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning with an unearned run off starter and winner AJ Hull.

The Twins offense had started slowly to that point, getting runners picked off in the first and second innings.

“We came out a little lackadaisical,” said Twins catcher Shayne Miller, who would be awarded the game ball for going 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI. “After that, we picked it up a lot.”

The Twins picked it up with some help from Bartlett. With one down and Miller on first, Ethan Oliver lofted a fly ball to center field that was dropped. That, and a later error on a ground ball, led to four of the five runs in the pivotal third inning being unearned.

But the Twins also made Bartlett pay for the mistakes by keeping the ball out of the air. On a windy day at Seymour Park, six of the first nine Twins batters hit fly balls that were — or should have been — easy outs.

“The biggest thing for us is getting guys to hit on top of the ball so they hit line drives or ground balls,” Twins head coach Gary Oliver said. “They have a lot of speed to beat out infield hits.

“Look at this wind today. Tell me a fly ball is going anywhere.”

To keep the rally going in the third, Jake Darrow (3 for 5, run, two RBI) and Hector Rivera (3 for 4, run, 3 RBI) drove base hits up the middle. Rivera’s single scored two. Two runs scored when Hull reached on an error, then Josiah Covey finished the rally with a double for a 5-1 lead.

That would be all Twins pitchers Hull and Covey would need. Gary Oliver said the object was to keep innings low Sunday because the Twins play two league games in Fairbanks (8-4, 10-4) on Wednesday.

Hull pitched four hitless innings and gave up the unearned run. Covey pitched three scoreless innings and gave up two hits.

“Their pitching was effective, but I didn’t think it was stellar,” Bartlett head coach Matthew Pring said after his team dropped to 3-7 and 3-11. “It was good enough to get the job done.

“After that (third) inning, they got down and never got back up.”

The Twins kept hitting after the third inning, eventually tallying 17 hits. Pring said starter Andrew Dickey, who went the distance, had a better outing than the stats showed.

“Our defense let him down,” Pring said.

Also for the Twins on offense, Brian Rowe was 3 for 4 with two runs, Covey was 2 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI, and Mitchell Thompson was 2 for 4 with two runs.

Gary Oliver also was happy with the defensive effort. The Twins committed just two errors — both in the third inning when the unearned run came in. Other than that, solid defense kept runs off the board.

The best play came in the fourth inning, when Jimmy Gerhardt hit a smash back to Hull that bounced off his glove and trickled toward Darrow at shortstop. Darrow was able to barehand the ball and throw out Gerhardt at first base.

“We always tell the pitchers they don’t need strikeouts,” Gary Oliver said. “Our defense is perfectly capable of picking up ground balls and throwing people out.”

The only down side in the game for the Twins was base-running. The Twins had four runners either picked off or caught stealing.

“We got them a couple times, and we would have gotten them a few more times if our infielders were not asleep and were paying attention,” Pring said.

After the first game, Pring predicted his team would put on a better performance in the second game. Bartlett came through, taking a 7-1 lead after four innings.

“Bartlett just played really hard,” Oliver said.

However, the Twins came back to win in the bottom of the seventh inning on a walkoff single by Ben Barton that scored two runs. Covey was the winning run. Barton was 2 for 5 with three RBI and got the game ball.

The Twins stormed back by scoring six in the fifth, two in the sixth and two in the seventh.

“I was really pleased with our younger players, who basically played this game,” Oliver said. “They got down 7-1, but they didn’t quit.”

Max Hegge and Tommy Bowe had two runs in the game for the Twins.

The games at Fairbanks on Wednesday are slated for 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

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