Jacob Madrid of the American Legion Twins tries unsuccessfully to avoid a tag at second from Jordan Schultz of the Napoleon River Bandits in the fifth inning Wednesday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The American Legion Twins baseball team eked out a 1-0 win over the Napoleon, Ohio, River Bandits Wednesday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, advancing to a rematch with the State Farm of Colorado Niwot-Boulder team in the championship game of the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament.
In Wednesday's early game, Colorado needed and extra inning to clinch a win, defeating the Fairbanks 49ers 2-1 in eight innings. Today's games will feature the River Bandits and 49ers squaring off at 11 a.m., and the Twins taking on Colorado at 2 p.m.
"Phenomenal," Twins head coach John Kennedy said of his squad's win. "We made a couple of errors, but then on the next play we'd turn a double play. The kids played phenomenal defense today.
Pitcher Alex Johansen was the beneficiary of that defense, picking up the win after scattering four hits.
For his part, River Bandits starter Landon Good one-hit the Twins in his seven innings of work. In fact, the only run of the game was unearned as Kevin Epperheimer reached on a dropped third strike and scored when the next batter, Luke Gilbert, also reached on an error.
Shawn Issacs recorded the only hit on the day for the Twins, reaching on a single.
"Our bats weren't going very good, but neither were theirs," Epperheimer said. "Our defense did good today."
Part of the challenge for batters in the tournament is handling the wood bat as American Legion teams usually swing metal. Kennedy said that after a few games playing with wood bats, his team gave them mixed reviews.
"I asked the guys what they preferred, and a couple said metal before I said anything else," Kennedy said.
"I don't think I've liked it so far My thumb is still numb from this morning, and they don't carry very far," Gilbert said. "Guys that are able to hit home runs with wood bats, that's pretty amazing."
The Twins may have learned a little bit about patience at the plate from the experience, something that should help them when they pick up their metal bats again.
"We'll probably stop swinging for the fences," Epperheimer said.
In Wednesday's early game, Colorado's Sean Ratliff hit an RBI single in the eighth inning to drive in the winning run.
Good and Perez, Bostleman (6); Johansen and J. Simpson. W Johansen. L Good.
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