Hounds squeak past Albert Lea as Halverson fans 11

Published 10:08 pm Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Austin Greyhounds made all the right plays down the stretch to beat Albert Lea 6-4 at Marcusen Park in an amateur baseball game Wednesday.

The Colonels put the tying run on second with two outs in the top of the ninth, but Austin’s John Halverson struck out Albert Lea’s Joel Eisenbraun to end the contest.

Coming into the ninth, Halverson, who struck out 11, had retired 10 straight Colonels.

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He cut through the AL lineup with a mixture of a fast ball and biting curve ball.

“I wasn’t so confident with (the curve) right away, but after about the fourth inning, I could place it anywhere pretty much,” Halverson said.

The game was tied at four entering the seventh inning, but after a single by Joel Swatfager, who had four hits, Craig Braaten lifted a two-run homer over the left field fence to put Austin (12-13 overall) up for good.

“He had thrown me that pitch a couple of times,” Braaten said. “I was just looking for something middle in that I could drive.”

Braaten’s blast came on a 3-0 delivery from AL’s Taylor Ignaszawski.

“He’s a smart hitter and he knows he’s going to get something he can drive,” Hounds manager Matt Cano said. “He’s more than welcome to swing at those and he got the right pitch.”

Cano was also pleased with the effort Halverson gave on the mound. Halverson allwowed four runs in the first three innings, but cruised after that.

“It took him a couple of innings to get settled in and he got stronger as the game went on. He’s throwing good for us,” he said.

The Hounds got plenty of their youngsters in the contest against the Colonels. Besides Swatfager, Mitch Kaplan played and knocked in a run with a first inning double, and John Kirby went one-for-four.

“Games like this are kind of nice,” Braaten said. “We got to get some of the younger guys in and show them what amateur ball is all about. They did a nice job.”

Austin scored three runs in the bottom of the first as the first four batters of the inning reached base.

The Hounds have now won six of their last seven games.

“It shows how far we’ve come from the beginning of the season, we had to dig down a little deeper to get the win (tonight) and that’s what we did,” Braaten said. “We’ve been playing pretty good ball lately.”

The Hounds will host Savage Friday at 8 p.m. at Marcusen Park.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E

Albert Lea 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 1

Hounds 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 X 6 12 1

Hounds pitching: John Halverson (W), 9 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 4 R, 3 ER, 11 K

Hounds hitting: Joel Swatfager, 4-for-5, double, 2 R; Mitch Kaplan, 1-for-3, double, RBI, R, SB; Craig Braaten, 2-for-3, HR, double, 2 RBIs, 2 R, BB; Tyler Leopold, 1-for-4, RBI; Matt Raso, 2-for-3, RBI, BB; Dan Zielke, 1-for-4, RBI; John Kirby, 1-for-4; Clint Ripley, 0-for-4; Nick Bowe, 0-for-4

Albert Lea pitching: Taylor Ignaszawski (L), 8 IP, 12 H, 2 BB, 6 ER, 1 K

Albert Lea hitting: Logan Kortan, 0-for-4; Jared Gavle, 1-for-4; Casey Woodside, 0-for-4; Matt Schumann, 0-for-3; Ignaszawski, 1-for-3, BB; Zac Oquist, 3-for-4; Jared Matson, 2-for-4, double, RBI; Colby Strileaff, 1-for-3, 2 RBIs; Joel Eisenbraun, 0-for-3, RBI