Baseball and apple pie on the Fourth of July -- the only thing that made a good day even better was the American Legion Post 20 Twins' crisp play in their doubleheader Wednesday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
"We're having a barbecue afterward, and that's going to finish today off right," said Twins manager Lance Coz during the break in between games against the Alaska Road Warriors from Wasilla.
The Twins already were sizzling in game one, completing the nine-inning 4-2 win in just over two hours, thanks to a steady effort on the mound from Danny Bookey. Post 20 came from behind in game two, with Brad Burck driving in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh and final inning for an 11-10 win.
A large crowd turned out for the holiday twin bill, drawn by both the Twins' good play of late as well as the apple pie supplied by Three Bears.
"It's great to play in front of all these people," said Twins left fielder Quincy Bird. "I'd like to think it was winning eight of our last 10 games, but it probably was the apple pie."
The Road Warriors put the first run on the board in game one, taking advantage of a leadoff walk, but Bookey then retired the side in order in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings, sprinkling in a few strikeouts but mostly relying on ground balls and good defense behind him.
"Lots of ground balls -- that makes the game go quick," said Twins shortstop Eric Newby, who was credited with nine assists and three put-outs in the game. "Danny did a great job on the mound today getting ground balls. It makes it a fun game to win."
The Road Warriors didn't get another baserunner until Bookey issued a walk with one out in the sixth inning -- snapping a run of 15 straight batters retired by the Twins pitcher -- but Bookey quickly snuffed any hopes for a rally with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
The Twins offense, meanwhile, matched Wasilla's first-inning run with one of their own. Eric Newby led off with a walk, advanced to third on a two-out single by Kyle Foster and scored on a balk call.
Post 20 took a one-run lead when Bird singled with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning. Twins catcher Kenneth Butler put down a sacrifice bunt to move Bird along -- Bird reached third and Butler was safe at first when the Road Warriors couldn't field the ball cleanly.
Bird scored on a squeeze bunt by Brad Burck.
"That squeeze play -- that was big," Bird said. "We played Wasilla up there a couple of weeks ago, and they beat us. We left too many men on base. We executed today. There's three things Coach is always talking about -- good pitching, solid defense and executing on offense."
The Twins scored what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Adrian Borchgrevink led off with a double to center field. Burck drove Borchgrevink in with his opposite-field single.
Bird scored the final Post 20 run of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, reaching with an infield single. He moved all the way around to third on a hit-and-run single by Butler. Scott Kornfield, pinch-running for Butler, stole second behind Bird, and when the throw scooted into center field, Bird trotted home.
Wasilla plated a run in the eighth inning on a pair of singles, a stolen base and a sacrifice fly and threatened in the ninth when a pair of Twins errors prolonged the inning, but Bookey got a grounder to first base to end the game.
Wasilla struck for five runs to lead off the second game, with the big blow coming from David Martin's three-run homer.
The Twins put together a big inning in the fourth, plating six runs in the frame. David Newby capped the rally with a home run of his own, a line drive shot over the left field fence.
Post 20 trailed by a run heading into the seventh inning, though. Relief pitcher Aaron Hughes retired the side in order to keep the deficit at one, and Foster led off the bottom of the frame with a walk. Foster stole second and scored on a single by Nick Weigle to tie the game.
Weigle, who had advanced to second on a fielding error, took third on a sacrifice bunt by J.D. Pault and scored on Burck's clutch single.
Twins catcher Ely Evanson went 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
The wins put the Twins (15-13) ahead of pace to meet their goal for July.
"The goal for July is to finish one game over .500," Coz, who saw his team meet his goal of finishing June at .500, said. "We like to set realistic goals."
TWINS 4, ROAD WARRIORS 2
Wasilla 100 000 010 -- 2 5 3
Post 20 100 101 01x -- 4 7 3
Caldera and Peltz; Bookey and Butler, Payment (9). W -- Bookey. L --Caldera. 2B -- Borchgrevink. LOB -- Road Warriors 4, Twins 8.
TWINS 11, ROAD WARRIORS 10
Wasilla 502 012 0 -- 10 12 3
Post 20 110 060 12 -- 11 11 4
Payment, Dablemont (5), Hughes (7) and Evanson; Schmelz and Savage. W -- Hughes. L -- Evanson. 2B -- Road Warriors, Webb; Twins, E. Newby. HR -- Road Warriors, Martin; Twins, D. Newby. LOB -- Road Warriors 5, Twins 2.
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