By DAVID LESNICK
The Daily Inter Lake
Regular-season champs ... check.
District champs ... check.
State champs ... check.
Regional champs ... that’s still to be decided, but the Glacier Twins hope to check that one off as well, starting this weekend in Lewiston, Idaho, at the American Legion Northwest Class A Regional baseball tournament.
The Twins, 38-15 overall, have won 22 straight games and will face the Hyrum Trappers from Utah in the regional’s first-round at 9:30 a.m. on Friday. That’s also the first game of the tournament.
“You kind of lose track,” Twins coach Scott Murray said of the winning streak.
“It really doesn’t mean anything until the end.
“We really don’t think about it,” he continued.
“We know we won a bunch of games. We keep track of the important ones. Until we got to districts, it didn’t mean anything. Once we go to the district, it started to get important.”
The Twins have been very resilient during the streak, posting impressive blow-out victories and coming through in the clutch to slip by in others.
“We’ve had plenty of opportunities to fall apart, but they never do,” Murray said.
“They never give up.
“If they misplay a ball, they put it behind them, the player and the team. Someone always steps up and gets the job done. That’s good for us. They never get down on each other, are always positive in the dugout. I think the fact we have those seven seniors (Dan Seymour, Tom Hellwig, Ryan Veneman, Caleb Meehan, Quintin Schriver, Terek Bistodeau and Matt Morrison) helps a lot. They have been around a long time and have been through a lot.”
Murray said Colby Clark-Dickenson will pitch the opener for the Twins on Friday.
“The pitching coach from Washington State (University) will be there to watch him,” Murray said.
“I know Coby is looking forward to that.”
Clark-Dickenson is 9-1 with a 2.653 ERA. He’s made 13 starts and has been on the mound for 57 2/3 innings.
He’s allowed 36 hits, 19 runs (17 earned), struck out 67 and walked 20.
Twins pitcher Nathan Hader, 8-3 with a 3.393 ERA, was impressive on the mound at state in Miles City, which led to his signing with Miles Community College for baseball.
“They saw him throw a game,” Murray said.
“They were impressed.”
Friday’s winner of the opener will play Saturday at 4:30 p.m. versus the Alaska/Idaho winner.
Also competing are state champions from Oregon and Wyoming.
Idaho and Montana have two teams at regionals.
Joining the Twins in Lewiston are the Bitterroot Red Sox. Those two rivals met three times at district, twice at state and twice during the regular season. Glacier has won all seven matchups.
Bitterroot plays Lewiston, Idaho, on Friday in the final game at 7:30 p.m.
If the Twins and Red Sox win Friday and Saturday, they would meet again on Sunday at 6 p.m.
“Just play like we have been,” Murray said of what he is expecting in Idaho.
“It’s up to the players now. I make the management decisions, they know what they need to do.
“It’s exciting,” he continued.
“We believe in ourselves. Now we will see how we stack up in the region. There are eight in the U.S. and this is one of them. We don’t want the season to end.”
Murray said a couple things stood out at state, namely some great plays.
“We were down 1-0 to the Red Sox and Hellwig belts a two-run home run,” he said.
“We win, that’s the final score. Somebody always steps up.”
Hellwig, who is hitting .384, has four home runs on the season.
“He’s a great hitter,” Murray said.
“He connected with one exactly when we needed it.”
Murray said it wasn’t a big surprise, but Zach Veneman, who just turned 16, “has been pitching fantastic. Against the Red Sox he was perfect through four innings. That’s pretty dang good for a 16-year-old. We knew he would be really good. He can handle the pressure and that bodes well for our future.”
The regional tournament ends Tuesday.