Austin Greyhounds bring experience to state tournament

Published 9:52 pm Monday, August 18, 2014

The Class B state amateur baseball tournament is a big deal, but this certainly isn’t the first rodeo for the Austin Greyhounds.

The Hounds have will have played in their fourth straight state tournament when they take the field to take on the Burnsville Bobcats Saturday at 11 a.m. in Le Sueur, Minn.

The Hounds (16-15 overall) have qualified for 11 of the last 15 state tournaments are not feeling any nerves as they prepare for the 16-team, single elimination tournament.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s nice knowing what to expect with the tournament. I’m actually really excited to have that first game. We don’t have to wait all day, we’ll just get out there and play,” Hounds manager Matt Cano said. “I think we’ve been playing pretty good for the last couple of weeks. I think we’re starting to put it all together and I think we can play even better. We have to take it one game at a time.”

Since the tournament is divided into two separate weekends and the Hounds can’t play more than one game this coming weekend. That gives them their entire pitching staff at their disposal for the Burnsville game.

Cano said he was leaning towards starting Joe Huffman, but Nels Nelson and Zach Schara will also be available to throw.

“We could potentially throw three guys at them who have number one quality stuff,” Cano said. “We’re very confident and our goal is to win the state championship”

The Hounds had been suffering through a midseason slump, but they picked up their play over the last couple of weeks. Hounds manager John Frein said Nels Nelson looked like a dominant pitcher when he shut down the Mankato Mets in an 8-2 win Saturday.

“Mankato’s a good team and Nels was dynamite. He shut them down and it was one of the best games I’ve seen him pitch. He was baffling guys,” Frein said. “We have the pitching depth to do some damage. If we can get into the final weekend, we have enough starters to eat up some innings. If we get to that point, we’ll be in good shape.”