The American Legion Post 20 Twins will qualify for state no matter what happens in the District II Tournament starting Saturday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
And it is precisely that pre-punched ticket that makes what happens in the District II Tournament so important.
"The team is ready to put full effort into this weekend, " said Twins manager Lance Coz. "Real success this weekend sets the tempo for the state tournament."
As the Clarion went to press Thursday night, the tournament schedule still had not been determined because the result of a doubleheader between Tri-Cities and Homer Thursday was not known. Post 20 will open play with a game at noon or 4 p.m. Saturday.
Not only does success set the tempo, but it sets the time the Twins will play at state as well. Earning a first or second seed means Post 20 will have plenty of midday games at state.
"If you finish the district tournament in third place, you get a 9 a.m. game the first day at state," Coz said. "That's the one I've always hated."
Coz also said the team would like to make a nice run in the tournament for the hometown fans. Post 20 last won the district title in 2000, but in 1999, the last time the tourney was played at Seymour Park, the Tri-Cities 49ers took the title.
The Twins (24-21 overall) have had some success in the tournament format this year, winning the Wasilla Fourth of July Tournament.
"That makes us realize again that against good ballclubs, on a one-game-a-day basis, we can play even better," Coz said. "So much of our season is doubleheaders that one game a day looks like a cakewalk."
The Twins lost three of four in a homestand last weekend against Dimond and Service. Coz said the two main problems were no timely hitting and porous defense.
Post 20 rectified those problems in a victory against District II foe Tri-Cities Wednesday.
"Defense is the strongest aspect of our team," Coz said. "From my standpoint, defense wins tournaments."
The Twins have managed to cobble together a pitching staff that has kept them in games this year. It will be the job of Corey Grimm, Bud Baun, Ely Evanson, Will Ridgeway, Geno Vick and Kenneth Butler to throw strikes and let the defense do its work.
Except for the games against Dimond and Service, Post 20 also has gotten the job done at the plate.
"David Newby, Eric Newby and Kyle Foster have been doing a good job," Coz said. "Kenneth Butler has been getting big hits further down the lineup, Bud Baun has been putting runners over, and Derek Martin is in a little slump, but he's been hitting the ball hard all year."
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