Regardless of the sport, the same mantra always applies.
Defense wins games. Holding a Bartlett Golden Bears baseball club to just one run is sure-fire proof of this ideal.
Scoring doesn't hurt, either, as the hits -- and runs -- kept coming for the American Legion Post 20 Twins, who topped Bartlett 10-1 in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The Twins had some trouble in the field in the second game, though, dropping a 9-6 decision to the Bears.
"Right now, we're playing very strong defensively," said Twins manager Lance Coz. "I encourage our pitchers to throw strikes. Rather than letting them on base for free, make a play on the ball."
First-time pitcher Geno Vick, up from Juneau, picked up the win for Post 20. He stuck to Coz's script for the first six innings, sending zingers past the Golden Bears' lineup and daring them to swing. After getting a pop-fly out on Bartlett's lead-off hitter, Chui Rivera, Vick walked two Bears batters. But he settled down soon enough, shutting out Bartlett completely while he was on the mound and giving up only eight hits.
In spite of his successful outing, Vick said he had butterflies.
"I was a bit nervous," he said. "I'm not really used to (starting). This is my first time playing American Legion ball and it's a big step up from Juneau."
The Twins' carried big sticks in the bottom of the first inning with Eric Newby, Derek Martin and Bud Baun batting in runs. Eric Newby, who was second on the lineup, sent Kyle Foster home with a triple into the gap between right and center field.
David Newby also scored when Bartlett third-baseman Josh Jones made a bad toss to first on a Kenneth Butler groundball.
A second scoring drive began in the bottom of the fourth inning when Zack Hicks hit in Ely Evanson. Hicks, who was behind in the count, 1-and-2, smashed a grounder up the middle of the infield past Bartlett pitcher Darren Waalkes and second baseman Rivera into the outfield, scoring Evanson.
"I just wanted to make some contact," Hicks said of the scoring at-bat."I hadn't been hitting well."
Eric Newby again notched an RBI from an extra-base hit, sending Hicks home on a double to deep center field.
The Twins shortstop went 3-for-3 hitting and logged two more RBIs in the sixth inning. He came up big on the defensive side, as well, throwing out seven would-be baserunners on the day.
Most noteworthy among these defensive plays was his athletic display in the top of the fourth. With two outs and runners on first and second, Bartlett's Jones powered a straight shot out toward left field, over the shortstop position.
Newby closed the distance between himself and the nearly eight-feet-high-and-rising certain base hit, bringing it down in the pocket of his glove to end the threat.
"I just went up for it, and I was hoping to get a glove on it," he said.
In the sixth inning, Eric Newby hit in Hicks and Foster on a single to center and scored on a Martin triple to the center field warning track. Martin scored on a wild pitch.
Bartlett's only run came in the eighth from a Jones hit that hopped past Foster into left field and allowed Bears catcher Doug Olson to advance from second to home plate.
Coz said the first-game win was needed to ease pressure on his bullpen and to redeem previous losses to Bartlett.
"In that type of situation, we're always glad to see runs in the first inning," he said. "Going into a doubleheader, we needed to give our pitchers a break.
"This particular doubleheader was important because this ball club beat us earlier this year."
In the second game of the afternoon, the Twins rallied to take a 5-4 lead with a four-run sixth inning, but Bartlett took advantage of two Twins errors and strung together five hits to score five runs in the seventh.
David Newby led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, tagged up and went to third on a Baun fly ball and scored on a wild pitch, but the Twins couldn't get any closer.
The Bears built a 4-0 lead on two hits and two Twins errors in the third, but the Twins got one run back when Nick Weigle tripled and scored on a single by Evanson in the fourth.
Baun got things going for the Twins with a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth.
Weigle followed with a walk, and Evanson drove in Baun with a single. Hicks was hit by a pitch with two outs to load the bases, and Weigle scored on a wild pitch. Evanson followed him home on a past ball.
Butler took the loss for the Twins, who maintained their .500 record and now stand at 11-11.
The Twins play two games against the Napoleon, Ohio, American Legion team today at 3 p.m. at Seymour Park. The Ohio team played in the 2001 American Legion World Series, and Eric Newby said the victory over Bartlett, coupled with the Saturday East sweep, would go a long way in building the Twins' confidence.
"Sweeping East was big," he said. "And no one else in the state has beat them. We know we're better than Bartlett. We're just hoping to keep the momentum going."
TWINS 10, BEARS 1
Bartlett 000 001 000 -- 1 12 5
Post 20 400 204 00x -- 10 19 2
Vick, Grimm (6), Butler (9) and Baun, Evanson; Waalkes, Hart (6) and Olson. W -- Vick. L -- Waalkes. 2B -- Post 20: D. Newby (2), E. Newby, Butler, Foster, Hicks; Bartlett: Lee, Olson. 3B -- Post 20: E. Newby, Martin LOB -- Post 20 7, Bartlett 13.
BEARS 9, TWINS 6
Bartlett 004 000 5 -- 9 10 1
Post 20 000 104 1 -- 6 6 4
Ridley, Olson (7) and Moran; Butler and Evanson. W -- Olson. L -- Butler. 2B -- Twins, D. Newby. 3B -- Bears, Ridley, Olson; Twins, Weigle.
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