The Post 20 Twins kept alive their hope of winning the Alaska State American Legion Baseball Tournament by beating Homer Post 16 Mariners 13-2 Sunday morning in six innings in the second round game at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.
"It helped out because it was a short game," said Twins manager Lance Coz. "We saved a few innings of pitching plus it extended us one more day of play."
The Twins remain alive after losing their opener of the double elimination tournament to Chugiak 8-5 on Tuesday. Another loss, however, will dash their chances of reaching the finals. Post 20 faces Dimond Post 21 Lynx today at 2:30 p.m. in Anchorage.
Post 20 Twins 13, Homer 2 (6 innings)
Twins vs. Dimond Post 21, 2:30 p.m. in Anchorage
"When you go into a loser's bracket, each and every day you face the possibility of elimination," Coz said.
With only nine players on the roster the Twins still managed to together a barrage of hits and runs that took the Mariners to the brink of an early defeat under the 10-run rule, and eventually beyond in the sixth inning.
After a runless first inning, the Twins opened the second inning with three runs. Zack Hicks singled deep into left field and stole second while Cory Janson was at bat. He advanced to home plate when Janson smacked a single to shallow center field.
Janson took second on a pitch to Kyle Foster, but Foster hit a pop-up fly that Homer catcher Alex Trieweiler caught for an out. Derek Martin batted Janson in on a single to left field and he scored -- after stealing second -- on a David Newby double shot to the left field wall.
In the bottom of the inning, the Mariners managed only one run from Jimmy Pollack, who scored on a sacrifice fly from Scott Owen.
In the top of the third, Nick Weigle got on with a single to right field, and was batted in by a deep center field single from Ely Evanson. Evanson stole second and scored on a Janson single to the right field wall, before ending the half-inning.
Aaron Gilbert, of Homer, earned the Mariner's second run in the bottom of the inning, scoring on a John Taylor single.
The fourth saw Post 20 roll through its lineup card, finishing the inning with five hits and five runs. Corey Grimm reached first base on an infield single and advanced to second when Evanson was walked behind him. The two advanced to third and second, respectively, on a passed ball and Grimm was hit in on a Hicks single to left field.
Evanson scored on a Janson single to center and Hicks came in on a Martin center field smash. Foster, who had been walked ahead of Martin, scored with Janson on a David Newby single.
Homer was unable to reply to this onslaught in the bottom of the inning, giving the Twins an eight-run lead after four.
"It loosened the game up," Coz said of the fourth inning scoring drive. "It kind of woke (the team) up and raised the confidence of our team, and we felt we could put it away early."
Neither team scored through the fifth, but the Twins were able to close the deal in the sixth inning. With two runners on, Newby hit a triple -- his second extra-base hit of the game -- to the right field wall, scoring Foster and Martin. Newby was then batted in on a Butler ground-ball single into shallow center field.
"There were several times when David was in key hitting positions, so I guess we put the lineup together right," Coz said.
Grimm, who had taken relief on the mound for Post 20, loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning before his defense could get a second and third out to end the game.
Evanson logged the win for the Twins, throwing three strike-outs and giving up the two runs and only two hits. Coz said both his pitchers for Sunday's game will be getting extensive time on the mound.
"These two guys will be seeing lot of action tomorrow," he said of Evanson and Grimm. "We come back to the same situation we've been in all season. Patching our pitching together."
Coz said the team will be playing the rest of the tournament short-handed. Eric Newby is the most prepared of his injured players and is listed as a substitute with the possibility of being activated Tuesday. With his hand bandaged from a lower bone fracture suffered in the District II championship game, he could only be used as a pinch-runner, Coz said.
The injuries combined with the loss of three Juneau players to rules violations, Coz said, significantly changed the team's outlook for the state tournament.
"Prior to the start of the District II tournament, I think we were definitely in a position to be contender," Coz said. "When we moved to state, we were in the position of the underdog."
He said his team has looked past the setbacks and is now taking the tournament one game at a time.
"Everyday we're still playing just means somebody else is gone and we're still here. They all realize the need to hit falls on the whole team," Coz said.
Post 20 has played all of the teams remaining in the tournament to at least a .500 record this season. Coz said winning Sunday's 9 a.m. game will do some good for his battered squad's physical and mental well being.
"It's definitely going to help," he said. "Now we get to rest for more than 24 hours before playing again. Now, every team we play has at least one loss. Winning always tends to make you think differently."
TWINS 13, MARINERS 2, 6 inn.
Homer 011 000 -- 2 5 4
Post 20 032 503 -- 13 13 2
Evanson, Grimm (2) and Butler, Evanson; Pollack. W -- Evanson. L -- Pollack. 3B -- Post 20: D. Newby. 2B -- Post 20: D. Newby. LOB -- Post 20 11, Homer 8.
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