Greyhounds unable to defend Red Wing Tourney title

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 14, 2002

The defending Red Wing Tournament champion Austin Greyhounds fell in the first round of this year's annual event, losing 4-2 to the St. Paul Stockmen's Irish Thursday night in Red Wing.

Arizona State graduate and former minor leaguer Jason Verdugo pitched the Irish (7-1) to their seventh consecutive victory, striking out eight while allowing one earned run. Austin's Chris Pack went the distance in defeat, striking out five and allowing only two earned runs.

The Stockmen's Irish are ranked third in the latest Class A polls, while Austin is No. 3 in the most recent Class B ratings. The Greyhounds, now 16-5 overall, face the St. Paul Roosters in Saturday's second round at 11 a.m.

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"We were a little disappointed, we wanted to come out of there because we were the defending champions," said Greyhounds player/coach Joe Serratore. "They were good, it was a good, fun game."

Austin trailed 3-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth, when the 'Hounds erupted for their two runs. Garrett Swank's RBI-double highlighted Austin's only scoring inning.

Tim Kaplan led the Greyhounds with a 3-4 plate performance, while Bryan Toov and Tate Cummins each had two hits.

Austin outhit the Irish, 12-10. Both Verdugo and Pack walked three batters, and the Irish defense committed two errors to Austin's one.




Jason Verdugo and Dan Miller; Chris Pack and Garrett Swank. WP--Verdugo, LP--Pack. 2B--A: Kaplan, Swank.

Merchants win in 11

The Austin Merchants, Austin's newest Class C Amateur baseball team, overcame a Stewartville-Racine comeback that forced extra innings and upended the host Sharks in 11 frames, 9-6, Thursday night in Stewartville.

The Merchants broke out of scoreless drought with four runs in the top of the fifth to take a 4-1 lead. Mike Haugen started the inning with a triple to deep center, and he scored on Tim Johnson's grounder that was thrown away by S-R shortstop Chuck Krom. Johnson moved to third in Brian Parlin's sacrifice bunt by beating the throw to third.

Jeff Kvam kept Krom's inning alive by forcing the shortstop to misplay another batted ball, driving in Johnson with the go-ahead run. Bobby McKee followed with a sacrifice fly to right, and Clint Ripley's bloop single later plated Kvam for the 4-1 lead.

Austin pieced together three hits in the sixth for a 6-3 lead, thanks to an RBI-single off the bat of Brandon Schuck.

The host Sharks scored two more in the sixth to close within one, and a two-out error with a runner on second allowed Stewartville-Racine to tie the score at 6-all.

The Merchants rallied through a light rain to score three runs in the top of the seventh.

Austin's Haugen went all 11 innings for the pitching victory, getting a pair of inning-ending double plays from his defense at key moments. Sharks' reliever Justin DeBoer suffered the loss.

The Merchants are at Albert Lea on Sunday night at 7 p.m., while the Hayfield/Austin Athletics are at Owatonna tonight at 7:30 p.m. The A's, Austin's other Class B team, made the playoffs last season but could not advance. Hayfield/Austin is at home Saturday for a doubleheader with Plainview at 1 p.m. at Marcusen Park, and Lake City is in town for two more on Sunday afternoon.




Mike Haugen and Brandon Schuck; Brian English, Justin DeBoer (7) and Terry Donovan. WP--Haugen, LP--DeBoer. 2B--A: Kvam; SR: Rubado, Krom, DeBoer, Donovan, English. 3B--A: Haugen.

Call Ross Thede at 434-2234 or e-mail him at