Last year, the American Legion Twins usually let runners on base, then panicked.
Sunday against Service, the Twins got on base, then made the Cougars panic.
The Twins, now a veteran unit that lost just two players from last year's squad, swept the Cougars 8-3 and 7-3 to finish a season-opening homestand with a 3-1 record. Service fell to 3-3 overall with the losses.
"We're playing well and not panicking," Twins coach John Kennedy said. "Last year, when we made a mistake, we'd panic.
"This year, we've been letting it go and concentrating on the next play. That's all we're asking right now. Stop the snowball from rolling down the hill."
Meanwhile, the Twins were able to benefit from some mistakes made by Service in both games.
"They made mistakes, and we were able to capitalize on them," Kennedy said. "That's what good teams do."
In the first game, Steve Mabeus made his Twins AA debut. Mabeus threw six shutout innings and gave up just four hits.
"The defense helped out, and so did Jordan Waters. He's the catcher, and he did a good job of calming me down," said Mabeus, who added he was nervous before his debut.
In the top of the second inning, Service had runners on second and third with two out, but first baseman Jeff Kennedy ended the inning when he snagged a line drive off the bat of Willie Paul.
In the top of the third, Service had runners at the corners with one out, but Mabeus picked the runner off first base, then coaxed Nathan Endslow into a ground-out.
In the top of the fourth, Waters caught Paul stealing third to end the inning.
Finally, in the top of the sixth, second baseman Kevin Epperheimer made a nice running catch on a fly ball to shallow right field that could have scored two.
Alex Johansen and Luke Oliver finished up for Mabeus, with Oliver allowing three runs in the ninth inning.
Meanwhile, the Twins got production throughout their lineup with four different players collecting RBIs and seven different players scoring runs.
"It's not just one guy this year," Kennedy said. "Up and down the lineup, we've got guys that can swing the bat."
The play that summed up Service's defense in the game came in the sixth inning. With Jeff Kennedy on second, Epperheimer singled. The throw from center field to get Kennedy at the plate got past the catcher. The Cougars then threw the ball away again trying to get Epperheimer at third, allowing Epperheimer to score after just a single.
In the second game, Epperheimer picked up the win on the mound for the Twins. He allowed eight hits and three runs in six innings. Erich Simpson pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
At the plate, leadoff man Shawn Isaacs came around to score twice after triples. Epperheimer also had a pair of doubles, while Justin Simpson scored a pair of runs.
"I love where we're at right now," Kennedy said. "The kids still made some mistakes, but they're starting to believe."
The Twins travel to Anchorage to play South in a 12:30 p.m. doubleheader Saturday.
TWINS 8, COUGARS 3, Game 1
Service 000 000 003 3 7 6
Twins 140 002 01X 8 9 4
Cronin, Lapointe (3), Krohn (7) and Paul; Mabeus, Johansen (7) and Oliver (9). W Mabeus. L Cronin. 3B Twins: Madrid. LOB Cougars 9, Twins 11.
TWINS 7, COUGARS 3, Game 2
Service 100 002 0 3 8 3
Twins 311 200 X 7 7 3
James, Hand (5) and Varela; Epperheimer, E. Simpson (7) and J. Simpson. W Epperheimer. L James. 2B Twins: Epperheimer 2. 3B Twins: Isaacs 2. LOB Cougars 10, Twins 4.
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