Austin denied chance to host baseball tourney

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 26, 2007

By Matt Steichen, staff writer

AUSTIN &8212; Members of the Austin State Tournament Committee weren&8217;t sure why, but Austin wasn&8217;t one of the three future Class A and B State Amateur Tournament sites named by the Minnesota Baseball Association over the weekend in St. Cloud. Austin was one of the six finalists in the running for state tournament hosting rights in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but after all six gave 10-minute presentations Saturday afternoon, Bird Island-Willmar, Glencoe-Browntown and St. Cloud were awarded the events.

&8220;It&8217;s kind of difficult for us because we really never got an explanation afterwards, never got a clear answer from them about where we fell short,&8221; said Matt Cano, tournament committee member and player/coach of the Austin Greyhounds. &8220;We wish we could have gotten that when it was fresh in the board members&8217; minds. We were hands down the best presentation, so there had to be other factors outside that that went into the decision.&8221;

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Joe Ciola led Austin&8217;s presentation and gave the MBA board everything it was looking for, according to Austin committee member John Frein.

&8220;We presented last out of the six and Joe Ciola did a flawless job. He hit every main focus we wanted to hit on,&8221; Frein said. &8220;We talked about our first-class facilities, our experience that would help us run the tournament, and our community that has a lot to offer. Those were our main three points. They expressed a lot of concern about our location and that may have hurt us a little bit.&8221;

Another strike against Austin may have been that it was one of only two single-city sites. St. Cloud was the other.

&8220;When it comes down to it, the board may have felt like it was kind of us against them,&8221; Frein said. &8220;We were the only two communities going for a single city hosting it, so they felt maybe they kind of edged us out a little bit.&8221;

It wasn&8217;t the first time Austin was turned down for a state tournament bid.

Ciola was in charge of the same presentation late last summer when Rochester was deemed not ready to host, but that bid was given to Red Wing-Miesville. Frein is unsure whether Austin will apply for another state tournament in the future.

&8220;It&8217;s hard to say at this time. Right now there&8217;s some frustration. It&8217;s maybe three years out before we consider something like that,&8221; he said. &8220;We feel like some of this seems predetermined and a waste of our time. It&8217;s a hard pill to swallow that they&8217;re telling us what we have to offer isn&8217;t good enough when we whole-heartedly feel we would provide the best state tournament.&8221;