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Hounds escape with wild win over Red Sox

It was a wild finish, but the Greyhounds hung on in the first round of the Spamtown Challenge with a 6-5 win over Westmont, Ill. Red Sox Thursday in Marcusen Park.

The Red Sox (7-7 overall) scored two runs off of wild pitches with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to make it a one run game and Greyhound catcher Tyler Leopold had to throw out Mike Vucsko at first after a strikeout and passed ball to end the game and prevent a third run from coming in.

“It was pretty scary watching the last inning, but after I saw that called strike (on the last pitch) I was pretty pumped,” said John Kirby, who played center field in the seventh, but picked up the win on the mound. “We didn’t hit the ball around but we were patient. Their pitcher was wild and gave us a lot of free passes. When we’re not hitting the ball well, we have to be patient and can’t be swinging at bad pitches.”

Austin (6-6 overall), which snapped a four-game losing skid, used just four hits to score its six runs. It put up an insurance run in the seventh when John Frein led off with a single and scored on a two-out single that Matt Cano laced up the middle.

The Hounds made their biggest move in the sixth when Matt Raso and Craig Braaten had back-to-back RBI-doubles to make it 4-3 and Dan Zielke knocked in a run with a groundout to make it 5-3.

“That’s the one I was looking for and I put it in a good spot,” said Raso, who drove his double to the left field gap. “I think I actually inspired (Braaten) on that one, because we both needed to get something going.”

The Hounds received a break in the fourth inning when Westmont was caught stealing home right before a run-scoring double by Buddy Herberg that saw Herberg get thrown out at third to end the inning.

On the mound, John Kirby scattered seven hits for the Hounds and he walked just two in his first start of more than four innings on the year.

“It’s pretty intimidating when you come in and don’t know much about the team. They had a good lineup and they could bang the ball around, they just couldn’t get the big hit,” said Kirby. “I felt like I’m finally getting in a groove out there. I’m keeping my shoulder closed and keeping the ball low.”

The Hounds, who are hosting the Spamtown Challenge, will play Minnetonka (21-2 overall) Friday at 7 p.m. in Marcusen Park.

The Austin 11-year old All-Star team will be honored before that game. Players from the All-Stars team will be announced with the Greyhounds, they will lineup on the field with the Hounds and they will do warm-ups before the game starts.

Hounds 0 0 2 0 0 3 1 — 6 4 1

Red Sox 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 — 5 10 1

Hounds pitching: John Kirby (W), 6 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 K; Nick Rohne (S), 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 K

Hounds hitting: Rohne, 0-for-1, R, SB, HBP; Nick Bowe, 0-for-2, R, BB; Matt Cano, 1-for-3, 2 RBIs, BB; Tyler Leopold, 1-for-3, double, RBI, R, BB; Matt Raso, 1-for-2, double, RBI, R, BB; Craig Braaten, 1-for-2, double, RBI, R, BB; Dan Zielke, 0-for-3, RBI; Zach Schara, 0-for-2, HBP; John Frein, 0-for-1, R, BB; Joe Ciola, 0-for-1