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Hounds ready to host some solid teams for Spamtown Challenge

One thing is for certain, some teams are going to be disappointed this week when the Spamtown Challenge opens up at Marcusen Park Thursday.

That’s because just about every team coming to Austin has a winning record and three teams won Minnesota State championships last summer.

The Spamtown field is as tough as ever as the defending Class ‘A’ (Minnetonka), Class ‘B’ (Shakopee Indians) and Class ‘C’ (St. Cloud Ice) champs from Minnesota will all be participating. The VeePak Hawks, who won the tournament last season also return, along with two teams from the Chicago Suburban Division in Illinois — the Westmont Red Sox and the Chicago Wildcats.

The Austin Greyhounds will play in Pool ‘A’, which features the Minnetonka Millers, who are 21-1 overall and have won 10 games in a row. The Millers have won nine state championships, including six in this decade.

The Hounds will likely throw Zach Schara when they play the Millers.

“Schara’s got a bulldog mentality and if he can keep us in that game, we have a shot,” Hounds manager John Frein said. “Minnetonka will be our biggest challenge and they’re the best team in the state, but we expect to well and hope to advance out of pool play.”

The Blue Sox will have to battle it out VeePak and the Shakopee Indians in their Pool ‘B’.

Play begins on Thursday when the Blue Sox play the Hawks at 6 p.m. and the Hounds play Westmont at 8 p.m. and the title game will be held at Marcusen Park Sunday at noon.

Pool ‘C’ features the Ice and the Minneapolis Rocks and Pool ‘D’ is highlighted by the Savage Outlaws (17-1 overall) and the Cold Spring Springers, who are 13-3 overall and have won seven state championships.

In all, the tournament features eight teams from Minnesota, four from Illinois, three from Wisconsin and one from Iowa.

As usual, the tournament will feature four separate four-team pools. The team with the best record in

round robin play in its pool will advance to the Sunday’s final round.

All tournament games are seven innings long.

Frein said the Hounds will also be looking to be good hosts throughout the tourney.

“We’ve got to make sure teams are having a good time so they want to come back,” he said. “We’ve built up a pretty good reputation with some of these teams.”

Pool A

Austin Greyhounds (5-6 overall)

Minnetonka Millers (21-2 overall)

Westmont, Ill., Red Sox (7-5 overall)

Spencer, Iowa Cardinals

Pool B

Austin Blue Sox (10-4 overall)

Shakopee Indians (15-7 overall)

VeePak, Ill. Hawks (7-1 overall)

Prescott, Wis. Pirates (10-6 overall)

Pool C

Minneapolis Rocks (12-5 overall)

St. Cloud Ice (8-4 overall)

Chicago Wildcats (4-5-1 overall)

Onalaska A’s

Pool D

Cold Spring Springers (13-3 overall)

Savage Outlaws (17-1 overall)

LaSalle, Ill. Eagles

Chaseburg/Coon Valley, Wis. Blues (15-4 overall)