Though it may not be reflected in its overall record, the American Legion Twins baseball team continues to show improvement.
The Twins dropped a 6-4 decision in the first game of a doubleheader to Chugiak Wednesday, but it was some solid play from the defense something that had been suspect earlier this season that prevented the Mustangs from blowing the game wide open.
The Twins again were able to keep things tight in the second game, scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to notch a 2-1 win.
"(Relief pitcher Kenneth) Butler had a good game up there he kept us in the game," said Twins starter Nick Weigle. "That, and our focus on defense. We're not making the mental mistakes like we have in the past. We're putting it together on defense."
Indeed, the Twins played some heads-up defense, twice tagging runners out at third and once cutting down a runner at the plate.
The Twins scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning when leadoff hitter Kyle Foster reached and advanced to second on an error, then took third on a fly-ball out by Weigle.
Robby Rounsaville followed with a ground ball to the right side of the infield. Rounsaville was safe on an error, but earned the RBI as Foster scored on the play.
Rounsaville, from Kodiak, has been dubbed "Ribbie Robby" by some of his teammates for his knack of driving in runs.
"I've just been lucky to get some timely hits," Rounsaville said. "(The batters ahead of me) are doing great getting on base. Without them getting into scoring position, I wouldn't be able to get any of those RBIs."
The Mustangs scored two runs in the second and two more in the third, but the Twins closed the gap to 4-2 with a run in the bottom of the fourth.
Rounsaville reached on an error, advanced on a walk to Butler and a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Madrid and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brett Toering.
The Twins tied the game with two runs in the fifth. Foster led off the frame with a walk and scored on a triple by Weigle. Rounsaville followed with a single to plate Weigle.
"When I'm batting with guys in scoring position, I do what I can to put the ball in play," Rounsaville said. "Hopefully, something good will happen. So far, it has."
Weigle ran out of steam on the mound in the top of the sixth, though, loading the bases on a pair of walks and a hit batsman. Butler came on in relief, but while the Twins were able to catch one runner trying for home, one run crossed the plate on a wild pitch and another on a double steal.
Chugiak starter Luke Sorenson made the lead stand up through the eighth inning, and Bobby Remy pitched a perfect ninth for the save.
In the second game, Twins pitcher Erich Simpson was impressive, throwing a seven-inning complete game and scattering four hits. Simpson walked three and struck out three.
Chugiak's only run came in the top of the first inning, and the Twins answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first.
Foster led off with a single and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Weigle. Rounsaville came through with another RBI, driving Foster in with a ground ball to the right side of the infield.
The Twins plated the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Brian Tweedy led off with an infield single and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Jeff Kennedy.
Simpson followed with a single, and after a pop-up for an out, Tweedy scored from third on a grounder by Weigle, who was safe at first on an error by the shortstop.
The Twins, now 8-17 overall, will play in the BP Invitational Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage this weekend. The Twins open play Friday at 5 p.m. against East Anchorage.
MUSTANGS 6, TWINS 4
Chugiak 022 002 000 6 7 5
Kenai 100 120 000 4 3 3
Sorenson, Remy (9) and Kucko; Weigle, Butler (7) and Butler, Hicks (7). W Sorenson. L Weigle. S Remy. 2B Chugiak, Thibodeaux. 3B Twins, Weigle.
TWINS 2, MUSTANGS 1
Chugiak 100 000 0 1 4 2
Kenai 100 000 1 2 7 0
Martin, Hardaman (7) and Kucko; Simpson and Butler, Hicks (7). W Simpson. L Hardaman.
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