Control problems by the pitching staff led to a 14-8 loss for the Post 20 Twins against the Billings (Mont.) Royals on Friday at the American Legion AA Northwest Regional Tournament in Billings, Mont.
The Twins were eliminated from the tournament after two games, ending their season with a 36-11 record, and regular-season and tournament Legion state championships. The tournament championship was the first since 1995 and the third for the program.
Twins pitchers got away with some wildness in the run to the state championship, but that would not be the case in Montana.
Twins pitchers walked 10 batters and hit five more Friday. Nine of those 15 free passes came around to score and easily provided the margin of victory.
“That was the game, right there,” Twins coach Hector Rivera said. “The pitchers couldn’t throw strikes. That was it.”
The Twins defense was its normally reliable self, committing just one error that did not lead to a run, although the Twins had a passed ball that led to a run. Billings committed three errors and gave up two unearned runs.
Post 20 also outhit the Royals 15-10. A trademark of the Twins has been the bottom of the order, and the Nos. 7 through 9 hitters came through again. Brian Rowe was 3 for 5 with a run and an RBI, Justin Wisnewski was 3 for 5 with three runs and two RBI, and Ethan Oliver was 2 for 4.
“They were hitting,” Rivera said. “It was the pitchers that didn’t show up today.”
Also for the Twins, Jake Darrow was 2 for 4 with a run and three RBI, Josiah Covey was 2 for 5 with a run and an RBI, and Max Hegge was 2 for 5 with an RBI.
The Twins took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but Billings went up 4-1 in the top of the second and would not relinquish the lead. Starter Tay Harling did not record an out in the inning. He would give up four runs — three earned — on two hits while walking three and hitting one.
“I think that these guys just need to realize that on a big stage like that, they need to do what they normally do,” Rivera said. “Don’t put more pressure on themselves than there really is. They got a little nervous, tried to do everything so perfect, and did not perform.”
After going down in the second, the Twins kept hitting Billings starter and winner Chance Ackerman, who would give up six runs — four earned — and 11 hits in seven innings while walking two, hitting two and striking out three.
For the Twins, Dallas Pierren gave up four runs in 3 1-3 innings, Mitchell Daugherty gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning, and Hegge yielded three runs in one-third of an inning.
Josiah Covey pitched a scoreless 3 2-3 innings to close the game for the Twins. Covey gave up three hits, walked one and hit one.
Rivera said the Twins are disappointed because the team felt it could have done better.
“They had pretty high hopes,” he said. “They know what they accomplished, and are ready to go back home and keep on going.”
The Twins lose four players from the team — Mitchell Thompson, AJ Hull, Covey and Darrow.
“Thank you to the kids,” Rivera said. “They played hard and battled back. Also, thanks to the parents and the people from the Peninsula — Kenai, Soldotna, Homer and even Kodiak.
“They were so supportive. Thanks to all the business and people in town who were supportive and gave the opportunity to the kids.”
Royals 14, Twins 8
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Rnst cf5013Rvra 2b6000
Kvsh rf4012Thsn 1b0100
Akmn p4000Bowe 1b3100
Bwr ph1000Covey 3b5121
Scsn c4100Hegge dh5021
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E — Jacobs 2, Gunderson, Covey. DP — Royals 1. LOB — Royals 12, Twins 12. 2B — Zimmer, Kovash, Jacobs, Wisnewski, Oliver. 3B — Zimmer. HR — Shelmamer. SF — Zimmer, Reinschmidt, Darrow. SB — Zimmer, Reinschmidt, Shelhamer, Gunderson 2.
WP — Kovash, Ackerman. HBP — by Harling (Kovash); by Ackerman (Darrow, Oliver); by Pierren (Ackerman, Shelhamer, Gunderson); by Covey (Shelhamer). BK — Ackerman. PB — Miller.