The American Legion Post 20 Twins baseball team finished off the Midnight Sun Tournament in Fairbanks Sunday with what coach Lance Coz termed the team's best full day of baseball this season.
The Twins finished off their round-robin play with a 7-2 win over Fairbanks Tri-Cities, then beat the same Tri-Cities side 3-2 in 10 innings in the tournament championship game.
The wins came after the Twins wound up on the losing end of a 10-run rule-shortened 13-2 game against a team of Legion Alumni Saturday.
"It was exciting because going into Sunday, we thought our chances of making the championship game were very slim," Coz said. "Even if we beat Fairbanks in the first game, they would have went to the tiebreaker of runs given up, and we would have been in third place."
The big upset that cleared the way for the Twins getting to the championship was when West, which had been outscored in the tournament 33-10 going into Sunday, beat the Legion Alumni 6-5.
David Newby, who had just joined the team Saturday night after going to a baseball camp in the Lower 48, scored the winning run for the Twins in the top of the 10th inning of the championship game. Newby singled and moved to third on a base hit by Aaron Hughes and a bunt single by Kyle Foster. He scored on a wild pitch.
Foster scored the Twins' first run of the game when he reached on an error in the fourth inning, advanced on another error and scored on Brad Burck's single.
Hughes led off the sixth inning with a triple for the Twins and scored on a sacrifice by Foster.
The Twins used four pitchers en route to the win. Hughes got the start and went three innings, Burck followed with two strong innings, and Justin Payment got the Twins through the eighth inning with three innings of work.
Danny Bookey was on the mound for the ninth and 10th innings to claim the win.
Earlier Sunday, the Twins pounded out seven runs on nine hits to beat Tri-Cities. Foster and Quincy Bird each had two hits for the Twins, and Hughes went seven innings on the mound, giving up two earned runs on three hits. Hughes struck out three and walked three.
"It was an exciting feeling as a team to defeat the team from Fairbanks," Coz said. "They were sky-high coming into Sunday. They'd had two big victories and were feeling unbeatable.
"They're a mostly 18-year-old squad."
Sunday was a busy day for Hughes, who joined the team for the weekend after missing the first part of the road trip due to work.
In the first game, he got though his seven innings with just over 70 pitches. Because it was a warm day and a short wait until the next game, Coz decided to use Hughes for the first two innings of the championship game.
Hughes then returned to the peninsula for work and, along with Burck, will miss today's doubleheader vs. Fairbanks.
"We're going to make sure we send everybody home tired," Coz said. "He and Brad can rest up and be ready to go against Homer Thursday."
Due to work and family commitments, the Twins now have just 12 players ready to play in today's doubleheader against Fairbanks.
The games are important for the Twins, since they are district games and go toward the seeding of the district tournament.
"On the road, we've been doing pretty well," said Coz, whose team has played mostly away games this year and has a record of 7-11. "It will be nice to be home for a stretch, though."
The Twins will play at home Thursday when they play Homer in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
TWINS 3, TRI-CITIES 2, 10 inn.
Post 20 000 101 000 1 -- 3 11 2
Fairbanks 000 010 001 0 -- 2 8 4
Hughes, Burck (4), Payment (6), Bookey (9) and Payment, Evanson (6); Shaver, Coldiron (4) and Milliken. W -- Bookey. L -- Coldiron. 2B -- Twins, E. Newby 2; Tri-Cities, Hatch. 3B -- Twins, Hughes.
Round Robin Play
TWINS 7, TRI-CITIES 2
Post 20 100 220 2 -- 7 9 2
Fairbanks 002 000 0 -- 2 3 1
Hughes and Payment; Lear, Wilson (4), Alderidge (6). W -- Hughes. L --Lear. 2B -- Tri-Cities, Eddy.
Round Robin Play
LEGION ALUMNI 13, TWINS 2
Fairbanks 610 24 -- 13 9 2
Post 20 001 01 -- 2 4 1
Baldwin and Cox; Dablemont, Evanson (4), Plasencia (5) and Butler, Evanson (5). W -- Baldwin. L -- Dablemont. 2B -- Twins, E. Newby; Alumni, Baldwin 2. HR -- Twins, Plasencia; Alumni, Cooper, Cox.
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