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Haseltine provides some pop in lineup

Sunday, March 29, 2009

(Photo)
ELIZABETH DODD ~ edoddsemissourian.com
Southeast's Louie Haseltine celebrates with his teammates after hitting a home run during the first game of a doubleheader Saturday.
Matt Wagner hit the game-winning home run in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader.

But without Louie Haseltine's clutch blast, the contest never would have gotten to Wagner.

Haseltine belted a three-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull Southeast Missouri State into a 5-5 tie with visiting Tennessee-Martin.

Wagner ended things in the 10th with a walk-off shot to lead off the frame as the Redhawks won 6-5. They finished the sweep with a 9-7 victory.

"Louie's hit was huge," said Wagner, Southeast's senior first baseman. "I wouldn't have had a chance [in the 10th] if he hadn't come through like that."

Haseltine, the least heralded slugger in a power-packed Southeast lineup, has been coming through a lot lately.

Haseltine, a sophomore, has split time at the DH spot this season. Despite starting just 11 of the Redhawks' 23 games, he is fourth on the team with five home runs even though his 43 at-bats rank ninth on the squad.

Four of Haseltine's homers have come in the past six games, including a breakout performance last weekend at Tennessee Tech that solidified his spot in the lineup for a while, at least.

Haseltine entered as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning of the first game at Tech last weekend.

The contest was tight when Haseltine came on with the bases loaded. He belted the first pitch he saw for a grand slam. He later added another homer and a double, finishing the game 3-for-3 with seven RBIs.

"It was our first conference game. It gave me a lot of confidence," Haseltine said.

Haseltine showed plenty of confidence Saturday when he stepped to the plate in the eighth inning. Southeast trailed 5-2 and had not done much off UTM starter Coty Green.

Green had Haseltine in a 2-2 hole when the hurler left a pitch up over the plate. Haseltine drilled it well over the left-center field fence.

"Luckily he [Green] left one up," Haseltine said. "I wasn't sure it would get up [over the wall]."

Haseltine finished the day 3-for-8, boosting his average to .326. His 14 RBIs are tied for the fifth-most on the squad.

"It's going good," Haseltine said.

Haseltine saw limited action last year, getting one hit in nine at-bats. That came after he redshirted in 2007.

But the St. Louis native who attended DeSmet High School felt confident entering this season following a solid summer.

"I played a lot over the summer," he said. "It was my goal to get in the lineup."

Southeast coach Mark Hogan raved about the powerfully built Haseltine -- he is listed as 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds -- during the preseason and is not surprised by the way he has performed so far.

"He's got some serious power," Hogan said. "You see it in batting practice all the time.

"He's given us two really good weekends."

Haseltine was a two-sport athlete at Southeast, if only for a short time. He joined the 2007 Southeast football squad as a backup kicker, although he never got in a game, after playing on DeSmet's 2005 Class 6 state championship team.

With the way his baseball career is progressing, Haseltine said with a smile that he doesn't envision spending any more time on the gridiron.

"I think those days are behind me," he said.


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