East Anchorage's Don Skaggs tags Josh Gilbert of the American Legion Twins at second base in the first game Saturday. Gilbert was ruled safe on the play.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The American Legion Twins turned a season-high three double plays against East on Saturday.
The Thunderbirds, however, pulled off their biggest of the season.
The Twins trimmed a four-run deficit to one in the final frame before East reliever Marcus Dierlam induced Ethan Waters to ground into a game-ending double play, preserving East’s first win of the season, a 5-4 triumph in seven innings at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
“They got the one that mattered,” said Twins manager John Butler. “I was a little bit surprised that they got that one. Our runner got a late break. He wasn’t going on the contact.”
Jake Lamphier of the American Legion Twins slides safely to third in the first game Saturday against East Anchorage.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Drawing 10 walks and scoring 10 runs off East starter Tyler Moore in a 14-7, seven-inning victory in the opener earlier Saturday, it took the Twins until the final frame to get things going in the second game.
Billy Forsyth stymied Twins’ hitters through six solid innings, allowing only one run on three hits, before East manager Randy Beltz brought in Dierlam to pitch the seventh.
“He threw a lot of pitches and came out ... after the fifth and said, ‘I can go one more coach.’ At that point, it was an indication to come out,” Beltz said. “He stayed around the strike zone all day, worked ahead in counts and kept us in the ball game.”
Dierlam then nearly gave it away.
He issued a one-out walk to Larsen Kohler, who advanced to second on a passed ball and went to third when shortstop Tony Zelazny misplayed Justice Elson’s grounder.
Tanner Pollack cut the deficit to 5-3 when he tripled to right field and after falling behind Dierlan 0-2, Josh Gilbert slapped an opposite field single to right, easily scoring Pollack from third.
But Waters who had three singles in Game 1 hit into a 5-6-3 double play to end the game.
“We were trying to give the game away in the last inning but fortunately we were able to get a ground ball from Marcus and get another two-turn and get out of it,” Beltz said.
Butler said he thought his team came out overconfident after the lopsided victory in the first game.
“Once these guys decide they want to focus in, we’re good,” he said. “I’m not happy with the way we played today overall because we made way too many mistakes. I am happy with the way they didn’t just pack it in.”
It was the miscues, though, that may have cost the Twins a sweep.
Twins starter Jake Bowler lasted only three innings, having surrendered six hits and three runs, although all three were unearned.
Following the Twins first double play in the first inning, Zelazny reached base when shortstop Josh Gilbert dropped a fly ball. He proceeded to steal second and scored on a base hit by Moore (3-for-4).
The Thunderbirds added two more runs in the third when right fielder Vance Wolford also dropped a pop-up with a man on and Zelazny followed with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 edge. Consecutive singles by Moore and Forsyth then made it 3-0.
Wolford also missed a hit-and-run signal in the second with two men stealing, leaving Waters to be gunned down at third.
“That was a missed hit-and-run. That’s what it was,” Butler said. “Even if the ball was a little bit out of the strike zone, you still have to make an attempt at it. You should be able to put the bat on the ball on that pitch right there. He just went brain dead. It left our runner out hanging.
“Mental mistakes, you can’t do. Baserunning mistakes,” he added. “We have to correct that. This is the end of June.”
The Twins finally scored in the fifth when Steven Mabeus singled and subsequently stole second and third. He then came home on a single to right by Kris Netschert.
But East tacked on two more in the their half of the fifth when Ben Stalker allowed singles to Zelazny, Moore and Forsyth and fielder’s choices to Austin Cassady and Shayne Tuck.
“We hadn’t had a whole lot of batting practice this week,” Butler said, “and it showed.”
Mabeus earned the win in Game 1 after striking out four and walking two in a complete-game effort.
Leading the Twins’ 14-run outburst was Elson (4 RBIs), Netschert (3-for-5, 2 RBIs) and Waters (3-for-4).
Matthew Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TWINS 14, THUNDERBIRDS 7, 7 inn., Game 1
East 002 100 4 7 9 4
Post 20 400 602 2 14 8 2
Mabeus and Waters; Moore, Zelazny (5) and Cassady. W Mabeus. L Moore.
THUNDERBIRDS 5, TWINS 4, 7 inn., Game 2
East 102 020 0 5 12 2
Post 20 000 100 3 4 5 3
Bowler, Stalker (4), Hepner (7) and Waters; Forsyth, Dierlam (7) and Moore. W Forsyth. L Stalker. 3B Post 20: Pollack. LOB East 8, Post 20 4.
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