A day after dropping their semifinal game against a powerful Wasilla squad, the American Legion Twins were defeated 6-1 by the Napoleon (Ohio) River Bandits on Thursday morning — the third and final day of the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat tournament in Kenai.
The consolation game left Post 20 with a 14-12 overall record for the season, but getting playing experience against Outside teams is always a good thing, even if it results in a loss.
“This is our fifth time (visiting) since 2002, and it’s a great trip, we love it,” said Napoleon coach Shane Coleman. “The kids have a great time, it’s a great experience, it’s a great team-building thing, and it’s worth it. We’ll be back again.”
In the championship game later in the day, Texarkana beat Wasilla Post 35 by a score of 18-0 in just five innings. The East Texas Canes finished off a great tournament showing by winning all four games. Woodinville (Wash.) beat West 8-3 in the day’s other consolation game.
Coleman was pleased with the performance of his two pitchers — Mason Aelker and Dylan Henricks — who combined for two hits and nine strikeouts. Aelker started the first four innings with six strikeouts, and Henricks struck out three.
”I thought they both were pitching very well,” Coleman said “Both were hitting spots and a mix of pitches today, and that’s what we needed today.”
Brandon Mahle took the loss for the Twins, pitching the first 1 2-3 innings with three runs but two strikeouts. From there, the Twins rotated through Jake Arnold (2 1-3 innings, two runs, one strikeout), Tyler Covey (one inning, one strikeout) and Mitchel Daugherty (two innings, one run).
The Bandits got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, starting with two runs off a triple from Tyler Torrez. Initially, Torrez looked to have a single RBI-double, but an overthrow to second base allowed an extra run to score and Torrez to advance to third. He was then brought home on a single from Tanner Wyse.
Torrez led the Bandits with 3-for-4 hitting and three RBIs, Josh Cales hit 2 for 4 with three runs, and Wyse was 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
Shayne Miller, Hector Rivera and Kenny Griffin recorded the Twins’ only three hits. Colin Corsetti also reached on a fielder’s choice.
Other miscellaneous bobbles and mistakes cost the Twins throughout the game, but at the top of the sixth inning, the Twins were able to score a run due to a balk from Henricks, the pitcher, that brought Rivera around the diamond and closed the gap to 5-1.
After one more run from a Reid Renollet single in the bottom of the sixth, it was the Bandits closing the game with three quick outs. Coleman said it was a good way to bounce back from two losses the Bandits suffered on the first day of the tournament Tuesday.
”It’s pretty tough to lose both our games on the first day, and we played pretty well yesterday and today, so it was good to see that we can bounce back,” he said.