Column: Memories at Marcusen Park this summer

Published 8:49 pm Monday, August 17, 2009

Now that the summer is coming to an end and Marcusen Park will lie vacant until next Spring, it’s time to take a look back on the summer that was. Here are some memories from Marcusen over the past few months.

They beat who?

A year after going 0-4 against the Austin Greyhounds with Dave Meyer on the mound, the Austin Blue Sox got the monkey off their back by besting the Hounds’ ace twice this season — they beat the Hounds 4-2 in a playoff game Friday to go to state and they beat the Hounds 3-2 early in the summer.

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Meyer had more strikeouts (19) than hits allowed (11) in the two games and the Blue Sox didn’t have any extra base hits in either game. But they came up with some timely attacks in both contests.

The battle of Chicago

The SpamTown Challenge came down to two teams that drove a long way to get to Marcusen. In the end, the Chicago Wildcats beat the Chicago Vee Pak Hawks 2-1 in the tournament title game, which ended on an unassisted double play.

The title game was a well played exciting contest and it was a testament to the quality of teams that the Hounds bring in for the Challenge every summer.

Higbe hurts ‘em

Coming into the bottom of the ninth Duell Higbe of the Blue Sox was 0-for-3. But there he was, at the plate one out and with the bases loaded and his team down 5-3 to the Rochester Royals.

Rochester’s Chad Wiesner, who threw over 170 pitches that night, tucked back and threw an 0-2 fast ball. Higbe connected, drove it to the left field wall and knocked in three wins to give the Blue Sox the 6-5 walk-off win.

Taking one for the team

It had been a tough start to the summer for the Austin Post 91 Legion baseball team. And it was looking tougher when they trailed 6-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh to Kasson.

But they got some hope when Post 91 rallied to tie the game at six with two outs.

It came down to Preston Higbe with two outs and the bases loaded. Higbe had delivered a game winning hit at Albert Lea earlier in the year.

But this time he wouldn’t get a chance.

The first pitch plunked off his leg, giving him a bruise and Austin a much needed win.

A two man win

Baseball is a team game, but when Post 91 edged out the Rochester Eagles 3-1 this summer at Marcusen, it was mostly due to the effort of two players.

While Austin pitcher Adam Hemann allowed just four hits and one unearned run while striking out seven in seven innings, John Kirby had three of Austin’s seven hits, including two homers and all three RBIs.

Hemann had one of those other Austin hits, a sixth inning double, and he scored the go-ahead run on Kirby’s second bomb.

Halverson’s day to shine

Last year he was pitching for the now defunct amateur baseball team called the Austin Riverdawgs.

But this summer, Hounds pitcher John Halverson slowly got better and better with each start.

The pinnacle came in a 6-4 win over Albert Lea, where Halverson, who usually pitched short stints, went all nine innings. He struck out 11 and walked just one.