The American Legion Twins baseball club rallied for six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat a team of Twins alumni 10-8 Wednesday in an exhibition game at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The victory evens the season series between the current and former Twins. The alumni squad won by a large margin earlier this season in an impromptu game put together when the Twins' regular competition didn't show for a game.
That means the next oldtimers game, scheduled for 6 p.m. on July 28 at Seymour Park, will be the rubber match of the series.
"We'll be going for blood in that one," said Twins head coach John Kennedy with a chuckle.
Indeed, the competition was good natured for the most part. While there was the usual griping to the umpire, and one alumni player was tossed for arguing a call, the heckling from the stands was good-natured and most players walked off the field smiling. There was even a request from the Oldtimers bench to call the game on account of darkness in the middle of the eighth inning with the alumni squad still leading 5-4 and the Alaska summer sun still hanging high in the sky.
"It was a lot of fun good sportsmanship all around," said Oldtimer Gresham Oliver, a member of the 1999-2001 Twins. "It was a lot of fun. I wish it could have been like last time when we whupped up on them, but they're getting better."
The current Twins got their rally started in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases on a single and a pair of hit batsmen. Scott Foster put down a squeeze bunt to drive in the tying run, and two more runners came home when the Oldtimers threw the ball away down the right field line trying to get the batter at first.
Another run scored when Jeff Holden hit an infield grounder but the alumni couldn't get an out on the play, and after a fly-ball out and another hit batter, Alex Johansen singled to drive in two more runs, giving the Twins a 10-5 lead.
The Oldtimers plated three runs in the top of the ninth inning, taking advantage of a momentary mental lapse on the part of the Twins, but Cole Chappell was able to buckle down and get a pair of pop-fly outs and a nice diving stop by first baseman Jacob Madrid to end the ballgame.
"It's nice that those old guys can still play," said Kennedy, himself a Twins alumni (he got an at-bat in the game). "Being the oldest of the old guys, I didn't know many of these kids (on the alumni team). They're all a lot younger than I am, but there's some players there. Some of those guys can still hit. It's fun. The kids enjoyed it, and I know I enjoyed it."
Oliver, who has a brother currently playing on the Twins junior varsity squad, said it was nice to see the guys he played with as well as catch a glimpse of the up-and-comers.
"It's good to get out here and watch these guys play," Oliver said. "It's good to see all these guys coming up and picking up where we left off."
The Twins will be back in action against American Legion competition at Seymour Park Saturday for a doubleheader with Service and Sunday for a doubleheader with Chugiak. Play begins at 12:30 p.m. on both days.
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