A month into their season, the American Legion Post 20 Twins baseball team has the formula down pat: Solid defense backing up effective pitching plus timely hitting equals quality baseball.
The Twins showcased all three aspects of their game Wednesday, defeating the New Jersey Mets from St. Rose's, a Catholic school in Belmar, 5-0 at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
Ely Evanson started on the mound for the Twins and threw four innings, earning credit for the win after Kenneth Butler and Corey Grimm provided three innings and two innings, respectively, of quality relief work.
The Twins defense committed two errors, but neither hurt as Post 20 was able to cut down both baserunners via the double play, turning a second-shortstop-first base double play to end the first inning, then turning a nifty pitcher-catcher-first double play to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth.
"That's (our pitchers' job) -- they get us ground balls," said Twins second baseman Nick Weigle. "They're not pitching for strikeouts. They're letting the defense do the work."
In fact, Twins pitchers struck out just one Mets batter Wednesday, walking just three batters while scattering five hits, one of those of the infield variety. The Twins defense recorded 16 ground-ball outs.
"Defensively, we've been strong this year," Weigle said."Our defense is going to give us a shot in any game."
The Twins sent nine batters to the plate in the fourth inning and came away with four runs, more than enough to support their pitching and defense. Kyle Foster provided the big hit with his two-run double, and Butler provided a run-scoring single.
Post 20 added one more run in the fifth inning when Eric Newby beat out an infield single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on David Newby's triple to the wall in left center.
Weigle said that playing teams from Outside always is fun, and not just for the great beans at the barbecue that typically follows.
"It's a blast to see different styles of baseball and different people, and they're always really nice when they come up here," Weigle said.
Mets coach Bart McInerney said his squad was excited about their tour of Alaska. The Mets will get another look at the Twins at the Wasilla Fourth of July Tournament today, and will stay for another week to play in the BP Tournament in Anchorage.
McInerney said the Mets did get to experience summer driving on the peninsula -- holiday traffic and construction held up their drive down from Anchorage, and the team didn't get to Kenai until a few minutes after the scheduled 3 p.m. starting time.
McInerney said the team usually travels in April as a high school squad, but lingering fears from Sept. 11 prompted to diocese to cancel this year's trip, opening the door for a once-in-a-lifetime summer swing through the Great Land.
"We have the chance to play other people, but also to take advantage of things other than baseball," McInerney said.
TWINS 5, METS 0
New Jersey 000 000 000 -- 0 5 3
Kenai Post 20 004 010 00x -- 5 8 2
Fuorry, Watson (7) and Gangel; Evanson, Butler (5), Grimm (8) and Baun. W -- Evanson. L -- Fuorry. 2B -- Mets, Walsifer. Twins, Foster. 3B -- Twins, Martin, D. Newby.
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