Hounds host U.S. Military All-Stars
Published 6:17 pm Saturday, July 14, 2012
AUSTIN — It was more than just another night of baseball for the Austin Greyhounds in Marcusen Park Friday night.
The Hounds took on the U.S. Military All-Stars, a traveling team that includes baseball players who are in military service and dependents of those who served the country. The All-Stars eventually walked away with a 6-2 victory after the game was called after five innings due to heavy rain, but the Hounds had plenty to be happy about.
Marcusen had its biggest crowd in six years as approximately 830 people were in attendance.
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“I like the way Austin got behind it. It was a good community showing,” Hounds manager Matt Cano said. “It might’ve been a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring them here.”
The US Military Red White and Blue Tour makes stops in 100 locations throughout the summer, and Jack Folsom, who is from Omaha, Neb. and plays college baseball at McHenry County, said Austin is as good as any other place the All-Stars have stopped.
“I like Minnesota. There’s great people and great baseball,” he said. “I was selling raffle tickets and got to go around the stands and talk to people. It’s a great atmosphere and it’s a nice park. We’ve played in some newer parks, but this is one of the top ones. I like it.”
Folsom isn’t active in the military, but his dad was in the Marine Corps for 30 years. Folsom, who is 19 and a sophomore in college, still remembers the day of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when he was watching news coverage and his dad had to leave to go on duty shortly after.
“I’ve been around the military my whole life,” Folsom, who is a pitcher for the All-Stars, said. “I have a lot of respect for the families because I know how it feels. It’s great that these guys get to play baseball because it’s a great break for them.”
Folsom enjoys playing on the Red White and Blue Tour, but he said it’s always tough when one of his teammates has to go into active duty and leave the squad.
“Every once in awhile somebody you’ve really gotten to know has to go,” Folsom said. “I pitched with a guy from the Navy for awhile and he had to go back to his ship for nine months. He’d rather be out here playing baseball.”
Folsom added that if anyone serving in the military who would like to play on the team, which includes Division I baseball players and some former pros, they can contact the All-Stars.
As far as the game went, the Hounds took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Tyler Leopold roped a two-out, two-run single down the left field line.
Hounds pitcher Joe Huffman allowed just one hit in his three innings of work, but that one was hit over the center field fence by Garrett Jenner of William Penn University to make it a 2-1 game in the second inning.
“We showed that when we come to play, we play pretty good baseball,” Cano said. “We’re looking forward to the next few weeks before the playoffs.”
The Hounds held on to the lead until the top of the fifth when the All-Stars rattled off seven hits to take a 6-2 lead. The All-Stars perfectly executed a suicide squeeze play and a double steal to score two of their runs.
“They know how to play and it’s a good group of guys,” Cano said. “It was a good event and they’ve got some good ball players. It was fun playing in front of a big crowd, but it was a special event and more than a baseball game.”