Amateur Baseball: Greyhounds second in SpamTown Challenge
AUSTIN — Joe Huffman cut his honeymoon a bit short in order to pitch for the Austin Greyhounds on Sunday. And for a while, things went just fine.
Huffman had gotten married at Marcusen Park a week ago Saturday. He then embarked on a honeymoon in Wisconsin. But with the Greyhounds in the championship round of the SpamTown Challenge on Sunday, the right-hander returned to Austin.
Huffman earned a three-inning save in the semifinals as the Greyhounds advanced to the title game with a 5-2 win over Kewaskum, Wis. Huffman was then back on the mound to start the championship game against the Minnetonka Millers.
"The first game was good," Huffman said.
But it was a rocky first inning that cost the Greyhounds any chance of winning their first SpamTown Challenge title in the nine years of the tournament.
Minnetonka sent 10 players to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and scored seven times en route to a 8-0 win over the Greyhounds.
"A little bit different team," Huffman said of facing Minnetonka. "They've got good hitters one through nine (in the order). It's tough to get an out."
Clean-up hitter Mike Davis hit an RBI single for the Millers in the first. But Minnetonka also got a two-run double from Steve Schmitz, the No. 7 hitter, and Brenden Furrow followed with an RBI single to make the score 7-0.
"Most teams, you get past the 3-4-5 guys and you have a little bit of a lull," said Dave Adams of the Greyhounds. "But not with these guys."
Huffman recovered and allowed just one more run, in the second inning, over the next five innings, but the damage had been done.
"I settled in a little bit," Huffman said. "I started to throw more strikes. But you can't give up seven runs to a good team. It's hard to come back."
The Millers won the tournament for the second straight year and for the third time overall. They went 5-0 in the tourney and are now 24-1 this season.
"They deserved it," Greyhounds shortstop John Frein said. "They played a really good tournament and they're a really good team. Plus they're great guys."
Jake Campion tossed a three-hit shutout for Minnetonka in the title game and he was able to pitch around seven walks.
"We ran out of gas, but they're a good team," Greyhounds player/manager Matt Cano said.
The Greyhounds (8-3) finished with a 4-1 record in the tournament. They had reached the Final Four of the tournament once before, but this was their first appearance in the championship game.
"It felt really good to make it here (the title game)," Huffman said. "And it was nice finally get a trophy."
The Greyhounds had advance to the title game with a 5-2 win over Kewaskum, Wis., earlier on Sunday. Weston Hanson pitched two-hit ball over four innings and allowed just a solo home run. He also pitched out of several jams.
Huffman allowed four hits and one run, on a home run, over the final three innings to earn the save.
Austin had a number of strong defensive plays in the game. With runners on first and second, Frein, at shortstop, saved a run in the second with a diving stop on a grounder up the middle in which he got a force at second base. Catcher Matt Raso limited a threat in the fourth when he picked a runner off second when Kewaskum had two on and no outs. Cano also made a nice play at third base in the fifth when he snared a liner headed toward the corner with a runner on first and one out.
The Greyhounds snapped a 1-1 tie with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Zach Schara hit an RBI single and another run scored on a error.
Austin made the score 5-1 with two more in the sixth. Nate Johnson, who had hit an RBI double in the second, drove in a run with a fielder's choice and he later scored on an error.
Schara, Raso and Adams all finished with two hits for the Greyhounds.
Greyhounds 5, Kewaskum 2
Kewaskum:Garrett Day 1-for-2; Austin Sarauer 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR; Dan Shea 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR; Ty Schill 2-for-3. LP:Brad Boegel 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.
Austin Greyhounds:Craig Braaten 1-for-3; Dave Adams 2-for-3, 1 R; Matt Raso 2-for-3; Nate Johnson 1-for-3, 1 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI; Zach Schara 2-for-3, 1 RBI. WP:Weston Hanson 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K. Sv:Joe Huffman 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
Minnetonka 8, Greyhounds 0
Austin Greyhounds:Dave Adams 1-for-3; Nate Johnson 1-for-1; Tommy Olmsted 1-for-1. LP:Joe Huffman 5 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Other pitcher: Alex Kasak 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
Minnetonka:Kyle Dalton 2-for-4, 1 R, Joe Shallenberger 2-for-3, 1 R, Mike Davis 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI; Derek Mason 1-for-1, 1 R, 2 RBI; Steve Schmitz 1-for-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 2B; Branden Furrow 2-for-2, 1 RBI. WP:Jake Campion 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 BB, 1 K.