Whether the dipnetting on the Kenai River had them distracted, or whether it was the beautiful weather all around, the American Legion Twins found themselves making mistakes that cost them a league game against Chugiak Post 33 on Friday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
The Twins dropped the first and league game of a doubleheader 9-4 against the Mustangs. In the second, nonleague game, the Twins lost 5-4 in eight innings.
The Twins rebounded Saturday at Seymour Park by splitting with Bartlett, winning the first, league game 9-8 in seven innings before dropping the nonleague game 11-9 in seven innings.
The Twins (14-7, 18-17) finish up their regular season today at 2 p.m. with a game against South in Anchorage. Depending on other results around the league, a win in that game could give the Twins the No. 4 seed in the state tournament.
In the first game Friday, the Twins held a 4-2 lead midway through the seven-inning contest, but mistakes and fumbles in the fifth inning let the lead slip away.
“Our defense was bad, that’s it,” said Twins assistant coach Hector Rivera. “We hit well, but if we’re giving up five or six outs an inning, we’re not going to win.
“I don’t know, I don’t think they wanted to be here today.”
After two early runs in the first inning from Chugiak, the Twins began to find the power that brought them a state championship last summer against the Mustangs.
Tommy Bowe hit a single to score Hector Rivera in the bottom of the first, then Tyler Covey took advantage of a wild pitch to score a tying run in the second inning, after having hit a single and stealing second and third base. His run was followed shortly by an error from the catcher that allowed batter Kenny Griffin to take first base and Justin Wisnewski to score a run, giving Post 20 a 3-2 lead.
One inning later, Colin Corsetti brought Bowe across home plate for a two-run lead.
Dallas Pierren started the game on the mound for the Twins, pitching the first 4 2-3 innings, and had a decent stat sheet going before he began having trouble with Chugiak’s hitters.
“The pitching was OK, but that’s all it takes, is one error to mess up your whole game, and we made one too many,” Rivera said.
Pierren had two strikeouts with five hits, but in the fifth inning, Chugiak’s Chase Gall hit a double, which ended up getting him to third due to a throwing error by the Twins, which allowed Hunter Hanson and Conner Cimmiyotti to score the two runs that knotted the game up.
After that, Vander Lekites hit a double that brought Gall in with the winning run and also scored Blake Kutch, giving Chugiak a 6-4 lead.
It was soon after that Pierren was pulled in favor of Covey, who went the rest of the way (2 1-3 innings).
Chugiak pitcher Chase Wilson pitched the first six innings, allowing five hits and getting seven strikeouts.
“We had a slow start, in the sense of having to drive down here, but Chase did pretty well,” said Chugiak coach Bill Lierman. “We made some mistakes in the first half of the game, but we started settling down and taking better swings.”
Lierman said Wilson’s best pitch was his fastball, which had Kenai’s batters swinging.
“They helped us a little bit with some mistakes and drops on their side, but we’ve had some guys struggle recently, and we took some good swings,” Lierman said. “I think they were a very athletic team last year, but that goes for any team. Any given year you have a very different team. It’s always fun to come down and play Kenai.”
To add to Kenai’s misery, Chugiak was able to convert a double play in the bottom of the fifth, then got the third out in the bottom of the sixth that left Tyler Covey on third base and scoring position.
Bowe led the Twins with 3-for-4 hitting, Rivera ended up 1 for 3 with a double, and Corsetti and Shayne Miller were both 1 for 3.
In Saturday’s game, the Twins rallied from an 8-4 deficit with five runs in the bottom of the seventh.
The winning run scored on a ground ball by Ethan Oliver that allowed Brandon Mahle to score.
Mitchel Daugherty pitched the first five innings, giving up four hits and allowing six runs, two earned. He hit a batter, walked seven and struck out seven.
Colin Corsetti pitched the last two innings for the win. He gave up five hits and three earned runs while striking out one.
Assistant coach Rivera said it was nice to get the win, but said the team is still committing too many costly errors and walking too many.
“They played much better today than they did yesterday,” Rivera said. “We have a bunch of good, talented kids. However, they’re still young and until they mature as ballplayers, you won’t see them minimize mistakes.
“They are more mental mistakes than anything.”
Shayne Miller was 3 for 4 with an RBI and run in the first game, while Hector Rivera was 3 for 3 with three runs, an RBI and two stolen bases, Corsetti was 2 for 4 with a run and Brian Rowe was 2 for 4 with two runs.
The Twins outhit Bartlett 13-9.
In the second game, the Twins used two pitchers for the first time all season in order to save Brandon Mahle for the big game with South.
Tommy Bowe took the loss, pitching 1 2-3 innings and giving up six runs — three earned. Justin Wisnewski had the last 5 1-3, giving up seven hits and five earned runs.
On offense, Mahle was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs, Bowe was 2 for 3 with a run and RBI, Dallas Pierren was 2 for 4 and Oliver was 1 for 3.