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Tri-City Red goes 1-2 at state
In the World Cup soccer tournament played earlier this summer, the United States was assigned to the “Group of Death” for the preliminary rounds and had to face the likes of Germany, Ghana and Portugal. Similarly, the four-team “pod” that Tri-City Red wound up in for the first two rounds of the American Legion state baseball tournament last weekend had a “Group of Death” feel to it.
Tri-City Red joined Excelsior, Burnsville and the Rochester Redhawks at Red Haddox Field in Bloomington on Friday. Excelsior and Tri-City Red entered the tournament ranked 1-2 in the state, Burnsville was fourth and the Rochester Redhawks were 10th.
Tri-City went 1-1 in the first two rounds, but couldn’t get out of round three. Tri-City finished the tournament 1-2.
Waiting for Tri-City in the opening round was Rochester, a team that boasts this year’s Mr. Baseball and a pitcher who is signed to play college ball at Kansas State next year. The Redhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead, bumped it up to 7-2 and survived Tri-City’s ninth-inning comeback attempt to win 7-5.
Game two for Tri-City was against Burnsville in the first round of losers’ bracket play and it went similarly to the first game except that Tri-City was the team fending off a late rally.
Tri-City scored twice in the first and twice in the third to go up 4-0, led 6-3 after four and 7-4 going into the ninth inning. Burnsville scored a pair in the top of the ninth but would get no closer as Red hung on for a 7-6 victory.
The win put Tri-City into a Saturday morning game against Nisswa (Brainerd), which built a big enough lead that not even a four-run eighth inning could get Red back into the game.
Charlie Callahan led Tri-City Red’s offense in the tournament with a .667 batting average by pounding out 10 hits, including one double. He came close to a second extra-base hit in the Rochester game when he drove a ball to deep center field. At most fields, it probably would have been a home run but Red Haddox Field butts up against a softball field in center and the fence in that part of the field is higher. The ball hit near the top of the fence but because the bases were loaded with no outs, all the base runners had to hold up to see whether the ball would be caught. Callahan had to settle for a single and one run batted in instead of a game-tying grand slam.
Joe Fredrickson and Ben Mezzenga added six hits apiece and Wyatt Meyer added five. All four batted .400 or better for the tournament.
Henry DeCaster picked up the lone pitching victory for Tri-City when he beat Burnsville in the second round. DeCaster pitched eight innings while giving up four runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout.
Kellen Rholl picked up the save in the Burnsville victory.
Heading into the final day of the tournament, three teams remained in contention. Lakeville North was the lone unbeaten team and had secured a spot in the championship game while Excelsior and the St. Cloud Chutes had advanced to the losers’ bracket final.
By making the final, Lakeville North is guaranteed a spot in next week’s regional tournament in Fargo, N.D. The Excelsior/St. Cloud winner will also play in that regional.
The state tournament wrapped up on Monday, past the deadline for this edition of the Bulletin.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.