AUSTIN EDITION Blue Sox embark on a mission
By Scott A. Kolb
The newly renamed Austin BlueSox will play in the same league and region as the other Class B amateur team in town, the Austin Greyhounds.
The BlueSox are taking the place of the old Hayfield/Austin Athletics, who played in Class B last year. The Hayfield Athletics will now play in the Class C Twin Rivers League this season and be comprised of players from that town.
BlueSox manager Joe Serratore is going back to his roots with the second town team. The BlueSox will be made up of younger players from the Austin area.
For Serratore, the BlueSox take him back about a decade when he was guiding the Greyhounds. In that year, Serratore took a group of raw players and molded them into the team that would eventually win a pair of state titles.
"For me, this is like being with the Greyhounds in 1996," Serratore said. "That's what I like to do is teach younger players and help them develop into champions. The Hounds were like this 10 years ago and I had a lot of fun working with those guys when they were young. It's going to be a challenge this summer, but we're ready to compete in the Southern Minny League and make a run at state."
Pitching is always the key for any successful baseball team and the BlueSox have a good stable of arms.
Sean Breslin will be the ace of the staff and he pitched for the A's last year, plus played college ball. Kyle Rizzi will be another starter for the BlueSox. Rizzi played for the Austin American Legion last summer and also pitched for the amateurs in spot duty.
Joe Huffman was a starting pitcher in his days at Austin High and also played Legion ball. Nels Nelson threw a lot of innings when he played for Lyle/Austin Pacelli, so the BlueSox have pitching depth.
Kraig Olson, from Blooming Prairie, played college ball this past spring season. Josh Verges and Jay Wetzel will also see starts on the mound for the BlueSox over the course of the long summer schedule.
"We'll be fine with of our pitchers and the offense will be in good shape with all of our speed," Serratore said.
Lynn Chheang, another Blooming Prairie alum, is one of those speedsters on the bases. Nate Johnson, who played for Austin High, will show off his speed roaming center field. Grant Lunning, Joe Kroc, and Nate Vollbrecht will utilize their quickness on infield defense.
Troy Tigner, Troy Holtz, and Serratore will handle the designated hitter role. Davis Lyon will be in the outfield, Tom Farr at first base, and Dave Kramer at third. Nate Bergene and Adam Edge will handle the catching duties.