After surrendering four runs in the first inning, the American Legion Twins baseball team scrambled back to defeat a visiting squad from South Kingston, R.I., 9-8 on the opening day of the Bill Miller Big Fish Tournament at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai Tuesday.
In other games Tuesday, the Barlow Bruins of Gresham, Ore., defeated the South Kingston squad 11-0, powered by a home run from Jeff Priebe and pitching from Jesse Jensen. The Bruins followed that up with a 12-2 win over Dimond, with Dan Allen earning the win.
Tournament play continues today with South Kingston facing Dimond at noon, and the Twins playing Dimond at 3 p.m. and Gresham at 6 p.m. All games are scheduled for seven innings.
The Twins plated the winning run in the bottom of the seventh in their game Tuesday. After South Kingston tied the game at eight in the top of the inning on an RBI triple to center field by Jamie Degidio, the Twins were able to load the bases in the bottom of the inning.
Erich Simpson led off with a single and advanced on a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt by Scott Foster. Justin Simpson was hit by a pitch, and Jeff Holden drew a walk to load the bases.
With Luke Mese at the plate, the Twins attempted a suicide squeeze, with Erich Simpson barreling home from third. Mese's bunt went foul on the play, but the next pitch sailed high and just out of the reach of the South Kingston catcher, allowing Simpson to score.
Erich Simpson got the win after giving up a game-tying run in the seventh, but it was Cole Chappell who kept the Twins in it with his five innings of work. Chappell took the mound in the second inning after starter Shawn Isaacs was hit on the arm with a pitch in the bottom of the first inning and was unable to continue.
"It's nice to know we can play crappy defense and still win," Chappell said, adding that it wasn't something he'd like to see his team do every time out. "It's been the hitting (that's cold) for most of the year. Now we've picked that up hopefully, we can get (the defense) right (Wednesday)."
Chappell said it wasn't too hard to jump into the game after Isaacs was injured, despite being down by four runs at the time.
"I just try not to think about it, and throw as hard as I can," Chappell said.
South Kingston got off to a good start against the Twins, taking advantage of errors to plate four runs in the frame.
The Twins got one of those back in the bottom of the third inning when Kevin Epperheimer tripled to drive in a run, but South Kingston scored three more in the top of the fourth before the Twins could turn a double play to get out of the inning.
The Twins pulled to within two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Justin Simpson drove in a run with a bases-loaded single, Holden followed with a two-run single and Mese drove in a run on a groundball out.
South Kingston loaded the bases with one out in the fifth before the Twins got a force out at home and a strikeout by Chappell to end the inning.
The Twins took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Erich Simpson drove in a pair of runs with a one-out single, and Doug Starrett reached on an error, allowing Simpson to score.
Chappell got a strikeout to get out of a jam and end the sixth inning, and gave way to Erich Simpson to start the seventh.
"We're still having a hard time at the beginning of games," said Twins coach John Kennedy. "Then all of the sudden, we decided we wanted to score runs."
Twins 9, Post 39 8
South Kingston, R.I. 400 300 1 8 5 2
Kenai 001 430 1 9 9 5
Collins, Fuchs (6) and Machado; Isaacs, Chappell (2) E. Simpson and Ju. Simpson. W E. Simpson. L Fuchs. 2B Twins, Jake Simpson. 3B Post 39, Degidio; Twins, Epperheimer.
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