River Dawgs lose in extra innings

By Scott A. Kolb

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Good starting pitching wasn’t enough for the Austin River Dawgs on Sunday in an extra-inning loss to the Winona Chiefs at Marcusen Park.

John Halvorson, the River Dawgs starter, went eight strong innings on the mound, but didn’t figure in the final decision of this Class C amateur baseball game.

Pete Korphage pitched the final two innings in relief and was saddled with the loss, when the Chiefs scored two runs in the top of the 10th to win 3-1 over the River Dawgs.


Dave Cunningham had three hits on the day and scored the only run for the River Dawgs. Halvorson was staked a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, but the Chiefs came back with a run in the top of the eighth to tie it.

Although he received a no-decision for his day on the hill, Halvorson looked sharp at times with four strikeouts.

"It was a good day and all of my pitches seemed to be working pretty well," Halvorson said of his start.

"I could throw the split-finger (fastball) for a strike anytime. I was able to stay ahead of their hitters and my arm felt fine for going eight innings."

Cunningham hit a two-out double in the third inning, but was left aboard. He then hit a leadoff single in the sixth and this time, the Dawgs got him home.

A sacrifice moved Cunningham to second base in the bottom of the sixth. After a strikeout put the rally in jeopardy, Mike Astrup came through with a double to score Cunningham.

"It was a career day for me with three hits," Cunningham said. "I was seeing the ball pretty well and was able to find some holes in their defense. I should’ve scored another run, but their second baseman made a great catch in short center on a fly ball by (Dan) Wiechmann."

Korphage relieved Halvorson on the hill to open the top of the ninth and threw a scoreless inning. The River Dawgs then had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, but once again they left a runner in scoring position.


With one out, Astrup reached on an error in the ninth inning.

He then stole second to move into scoring position. Astrup went to third on a fielder’s choice, but was left on base as a groundout ended the threat.

In the top of the 10th, Korphage appeared to tire out and the Chiefs got a pair of runs to win the game. Shaun Zaborowski hit a leadoff double, but then Korphage induced a groundout.

The next batter hit a ground ball, but the Dawgs booted it and the rally remained alive for the Chiefs. Eric Douglas then hit a two-run double to give the visitors the lead for good.

"I’ve been throwing a lot of innings lately, and my arm got a little tired," Korphage said. "I left a couple of pitches up in that last inning and they got the key hits."

It wasn’t quite over as the River Dawgs mustered one last threat in the bottom of the 10th inning. With two outs, Wiechmann hit a single. Derek Emanuel then came up and hit a hot grounder to third base. The Chiefs defense made the play and the long day on the diamond was over.

Austin River Dawgs (2-6) play a road game against the Faribault Lakers on Wednesday night.



Winona 000 000 010 2 — 3 8 1

River Dawgs 000 001 000 0 — 1 9 2

Winona Chiefs: Shaun Zaborowski 1-5, 2B, run; Eric Douglas 2-5, 2B, RBI. WP: Fuzzy Merchlewitz 6 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K.

Austin River Dawgs: Mike Astrup 1-4, 2B, RBI; Conor Johnson 1-4; Dave Cunningham 3-3, 2B, run. SP: John Halvorson 8 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K. LP: Pete Korphage 2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 K.

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