At the plate, the Twins’ demolished the competition, winning 12 games by the 10-run mercy rule. The team’s pitching duo was equally impressive. Ace Kylie Cast (16-1) struck out 183 batters (2.67 K’s per inning) and catcher/relief pitcher Grace Lynds (3-0) chalked up nine saves.
The Twins combination of aggressive base running, small ball and the powerful bats of Presley Gutierrez, Lea Schneiderman and Jennifer Walters conspired to help the Twins score 288 runs – an average of 14 per game. Nicole Bettencourt, Michaela Vanderklugt and Cast provided solid hitting and defense, only allowing 96 runs for a stingy average of four per game.
“What made this team successful was working together as a team,” said Twins Manager Dennis Felix. “It didn’t matter if it was your first year or third year; everyone on the team contributed to making the Twins back-to-back champions.”
The Twins carried their win streak into the District 4 Tournament of Champions (TOC), playing all the league champions from Martinez, Pinole-Hercules, Concord/Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, East County and Clayton Valley leagues.
In a tightly contested first-round game against Pittsburg, Antioch’s Twins pulled out a 6-5 victory in the bottom of the sixth inning when Gutierrez walked to start the inning and took an extra base on a sacrifice bunt by Cast. Lea Schneiderman delivered the game-deciding hit to advance the Twins to the second round. Cast (17-1) was dominating, striking out 14.
In the second round, the Twins spotted Concord/Walnut Creek four runs on errors early but settled down and battled back for an 8-6 win. Cast (18-1) got the win, striking out five, and Lynd came on to stifle Concord for the save in the final three innings.
In the championship game against Martinez, the Twins’ lack of offense was compounded by miscues in the field, leading to a season-ending loss to a solid Bear roster loaded with 12-year-olds. It was the second year in a row that Martinez beat the Twins in the championship game.
The Twins will be well represented in District 4 All-Star Championships – 10 members of the team have been named to their age-appropriate All-Star squads to represent Antioch in the upcoming All-Star tournament.