The American Legion Twins swept West by scores of 10-3 and 14-4 Monday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
Although both games were halted early due to run rules, the Twins didn't come out like gangbusters in the doubleheader.
In the first game, the score was tied at 3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Twins loaded the bases with none out, then scored one run when Cole Chappell drew a walk.
Travis Mercier, Jeff Kennedy and Luke Oliver then each executed suicide squeeze bunts, with Kennedy's bunt being good enough for a hit, to start to open up a big lead. The Twins had an 8-3 lead after the seventh, then put two more runs on the board in the eighth inning to force the run rule.
In the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, the Twins had runners in scoring position and failed to get a run. The worst came in the fourth inning, when Jeff Kennedy led off with a triple and did not score.
"I was sick of leaving runners at third base," Twins manager John Kennedy said. "I'd given them a chance to drive the runners in, and they hadn't. That's why I decided to try the suicide squeeze."
Kennedy said that once the first one worked, he figured he might as well stay with what's working. The strategy didn't surprise Twins player Jacob Madrid.
"We really work in practice on bunting," Madrid said. "As long as everybody got the signs, I was confident we'd be able to get the bunts down."
The Twins had a few errors early in the first game, but as usual were solid with their pitching and defense. Shawn Issacs pitched the first six innings, while Erich Simpson pitched a scoreless final two innings to pick up the victory.
Kevin Epperheimer was 3-for-4 with three runs and an RBI to lead the Twins in the first game, while Justin Simpson was 1-for-2, Luke Gilbert was 1-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs, Erich Simpson was 1-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, Cole Chappell was 1-for-2 with a run and Jeff Kennedy was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
The Twins offense carried its momentum from the first game to the second game. The Twins scored seven runs in the first two innings en route to a 14-run, seven-hit performance.
"We hit the ball hard in that second game," John Kennedy said. "They also made some mistakes, and we took advantage of them."
Madrid led the charge in the second game by going 4-for-5 with three RBIs.
"My timing was off in the first game," Madrid said. "At the end of the first game, I made good contact but it was right at somebody. I had my timing figured out for the second game."
Scott Foster scored three runs and Justin Simpson scored two runs even though neither collected a hit. Epperheimer was 1-for-3 with a run, Erich Simpson was 1-for-3 with two runs, Issacs was 1-for-2 with a run and Jeff Kennedy was 2-for-4 with a run.
The Twins dropped three pop-ups in the game, but the pitching was solid. Gilbert had not done a lot of pitching lately due to a sore finger, but he turned in four solid innings and picked up the win. Oliver pitched two scoreless innings of relief.
The Twins are now 24-10 in Alaska American Legion play and 26-13 overall. The Twins host East in a 12:30 p.m. doubleheader Wednesday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park. East is one of the top teams from Anchorage and is 2-0 against the Twins this season.
The Twins then have the district and state tournaments.
"I think everybody is excited for the tournaments to begin," Madrid said. "I also know everybody is looking forward to playing East again. We want to take two from them."
Twins 10, West 3, 8 inn., Game 1
West 001 110 00 3 6 6
Twins 102 000 52 10 9 2
Prokosch, Patrick-Riley (7) and Alvarez; Issacs, E. Simpson (7) and Ju. Simpson. W E. Simpson. L Prokosch. 2B West: Prokosch, Alvarez; Twins: Ju. Simpson, Epperheimer. 3B Twins: Kennedy, E. Simpson. LOB West 7, Twins 11.
Twins 14, West 4, 6 inn., Game 2
West 112 000 4 5 4
Twins 250 403 14 7 3
Zimmerman, Vandagriff (4) and Alvarez; Gilbert, Oliver (5) and Ju. Simpson. W Gilbert. L Zimmerman. 2B Twins: Madrid 2, Epperheimer, Kennedy. LOB West 5, Twins 8.
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