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American Legion baseball season coming to a close
The American Legion baseball season in Minnesota is nearing an end. Here’s a look at what each of the Tri-City teams has left before the post-season begins next week.
Tri-City Maroon enters the final week of Fourth District play in third place in the district standings. Maroon is 7-2 in district play, but faces a tough final five games this week.
Prior to this week, Maroon had played only one game against the two teams ahead of it in the standings. It will play three this week, including a contest against district-leading Tri-City Red on Wednesday at Midway Stadium at 6 p.m.
On Thursday, Maroon takes on second-place North St. Paul, which is responsible for one of Tri-City’s two district losses, at 6 p.m. at Midway.
The season finale is Saturday, but it’s not a full game. Maroon hosts Rosetown at noon at Irondale High School for the completion of a suspended game from earlier in the season. On July 1, the two teams ran out of daylight after playing to a 6-6 tie after nine innings.
Tri-City Maroon’s overall record at the beginning of the week was 12-7. Maroon played in a tournament in Rochester earlier this summer and started off 2-0 before losing the final two games. It also went 1-2 in individual non-district games.
In the Gopher Classic last weekend, Maroon went 2-1 and had two games canceled because of rain. That 2-1 record was good enough to win the pool and advance to the 16-team playoff portion of the tournament. Maroon’s first-round opponent on Monday was Tri-City Red, which won its pool with a 3-1 record.
Tri-City Red has five games remaining in its district schedule and held a one-game lead in the standings at the beginning of the week. Among the games on tap this week for Red is a showdown at second-place North St. Paul on Sunday at noon.
Tri-City Red entered the week having won its past 25 district games. Red went 16-0 in district play last year and was 9-0 so far this season.
Red also plays third-place Tri-City Maroon on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Midway Stadium. Red takes on Rosetown at 8 p.m. at Midway on Thursday and plays at White Bear Lake at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
If that’s not enough baseball for one week, Tri-City Red also plays non-district games on Friday and Saturday. Red faces Hopkins at Big Willow Park in Minnetonka on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Mandan (N.D.) in a doubleheader on Saturday at noon at Schumacher Field in Forest Lake.
Thanks to an unexpected meeting on Monday, Tri-City Red and Tri-City Maroon were spared having to play a doubleheader this week. The area rivals were scheduled to play twice on Wednesday, but one of those games was canceled because Red and Maroon met Monday in the first round of the Gopher Classic playoffs.
Red won its pool with a 3-1 record. Rain on Friday and Saturday forced each team to miss one of its games in pool play. Red won the pool by beating Moline (Ill.) and Yankton (S.D.) on Friday and Shakopee on Sunday. Elk River handed Red its only loss on Sunday.
Once the regular season ends, teams throughout the state will go after state-tournament berths by competing in sub-state playoffs. Starting last year, the American Legion baseball teams in the state were divided into 15 divisions called sub-states and the 15 sub-state champions advance to the state tournament along with the host team.
Prior to last year, the state had 10 districts of varying size, which led to some districts to have more than one team in the state tournament each year. The sub-states all have eight or nine teams and just one team from each move on to state.
All three Tri-City teams are members of Sub-State No. 8 along with Forest Lake and Stillwater from the Third District, White Bear Lake and Maplewood Green from the Fourth District and Chisago Lakes and Lino Lakes from the 10th District.
Forest Lake won last year’s sub-state tournament by beating Tri-City Red in the championship final. Forest Lake, seeded third, beat Tri-City Blue, Lino Lakes and Tri-City Red to reach the final. Tri-City Red went on to win the losers-bracket final to get to the championship round and then beat Forest Lake 5-2 in the first game. Forest Lake recovered to win game two 3-2.
Tri-City Blue went 1-2 in last year’s sub-state tournament. Seeded sixth, Blue lost to Forest Lake in the first round, beat seventh-seeded Chisago Lakes in the second round and was eliminated by fifth-seeded Stillwater 11-10 in 10 innings in the third round.
Tri-City Maroon was one-and-done last year after losing the play-in game 10-5 to White Bear Lake.
This year’s Sub-State 8 tournament is scheduled for July 22-27 with the majority of the games taking place at White Bear Lake Area High School (South Campus) and Midway Stadium.
Brian Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-City Blue has two games remaining on its regular-season schedule. Blue hosts Ham Lake (Blaine) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Palm Field and travels to Anoka on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Last week, Tri-City Blue played in the Gopher Classic at Veterans Field at Minnetonka High School. Blue went 0-5 in pool play with losses coming against Huron (S.D.), Bemidji, the Rochester Redhawks, Plymouth (Ind.) and Excelsior