Spamtown Challenge begins Thursday at Marcusen Park

Published 10:26pm Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Marcusen Park may have been under water for a good portion of last week, but the Austin Greyhounds never had a doubt that they were going to host the 10th annual Spamtown baseball challenge this week.

Thanks to the hard work of baseball players from all around town, the show will go on and the Spamtown tournament will run Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Marcusen Park and Riverland Community College.

The Greyhounds made it to the title game in last year’s Challenge, but they bowed out 8-0 to Minnetonka. The Hounds (5-5 overall) are hoping to be in the mix to win it again.

“We like to be good hosts, but we’d also like to win our own tournament,” Hounds manager John Frein said. “We’ve been close to some good teams this year and we feel were right on the cusp of being an elite team.”

The Hounds will be in Pool A, which includes the Hayfield Heat, the Shakopee Indians and the St. Paul River Pirates. Shakopee (12-4 overall) has been one of the better amateur baseball teams in the state in recent years.

The Hounds will open play Thursday night against the Heat at 7:30 p.m., they will play Shakopee Friday at 7 p.m. and they will play the River Pirates Saturday at 6 p.m.

The Austin Blue Sox will play in Pool B along with Westmont, Ill., Kewaskum, Wis. and the St. Paul Capitals. The Blue Sox play Westmont Thursday at 5:30 p.m., they play the Capitals Friday at 5 p.m., and they take on Kewaskum Saturday at 1:45 p.m.

Other teams in the running to make Sunday’s final four include the Sparta Miller, the Chaska Cubs, and Minnetonka.

“The reason we call it the Spamtown Challenge is it takes a lot to win it,” Frein said. “Whoever comes out on top will have used everything they have and exhausted all of their pitching.”

On Saturday night, the Marcusen Park Block Party will be held as the Tracey Blake Project, a rock and country band, takes the stage to perform.

A tournament VIP pass, which is good for all games and concert on Saturday, costs $17, daily admission on Thursday, Friday and Saturday is $5 and daily admission is $10 on Saturday.

All of the Blue Sox and Hounds games will be held at Marcusen Park.

The final four will be played Sunday at 10 a.m. and noon and the title game will be held at 2 p.m. in Marcusen Park.

Pool A

Austin Greyhounds (5-5 overall)

Hayfield Heat (6-6 overall)

Shakopee Indians (12-4 overall)

St. Paul River Pirates (0-2 overall)

Pool B

Austin Blue Sox (4-3 overall)

Westmont, Ill. Red Sox (2-5 overall)

Kewaskum, Wis. A’s (15-6 overall)

St. Paul Capitals (11-7 overall)

Pool C

Rochester Royals (4-6 overall)

Sparta, Wis. Miller (13-5 overall)

Chaska Cubs (13-2 overall)

Forrest Lake Brewers (8-1 overall)

Pool D

Mankato Mets (1-3 overall)

Burnsville Bobcats (1-4 overall)

Minnetonka Millers (19-2 overall)

Tri City, Minn. Shark (3-4 overall)

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