PLAY BALL! Hounds are back in the game

Published 6:33 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2020

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After a whole lot of waiting, the Austin Greyhounds are doing a lot of hustling.

The Greyhounds found out they were allowed to play amateur baseball in Minnesota this summer this past Friday, and they’ll be hosting their first game at Marcusen Park at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Members of the Austin Greyhounds meet outside the dugout at their practice in Marcusen Park Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/

“We were playing the waiting game and we were trying to see some light, where we could go after it and get things rolling,” Hounds coach Joe Ciola said. “Sure enough, there was a light switch, they turned it on and we have a league game tomorrow night.”

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The Hounds held their fifth practice of the summer on Tuesday and they played in a doubleheader in Iowa on Saturday. Ciola said a fan approached him after that doubleheader and told him that it was “the first normal day in a long time.”

After almost fading out, the Hounds showed gained some ground last summer as Ciola took over and brought together a group of younger players — including Minnesota State’s all-time home run leader Jordan Hart, his former Lyle-Pacelli teammate and Dan Bollingberg, and Austin grads John Kirby and Jack Dankert.

Ciola said the team has much of its roster back for this summer, which will see the Hounds play 10 league games in about a month before the playoffs begin on July 29.

“I think it’s great for the guys and the ball players to get out here,” Ciola said. “They’re itching to play and it wasn’t hard to get everybody back from last year. I think it’s great for the community as well. It gives people something to do.”

Games will be open to fans, but social distancing guidelines will apply.

The Hounds will be hosting Waseca on Wednesday.