Tri-City Red rolls in key playoff contest

bmeyers@lillienews.com's picture

The Tri-City Red American Legion baseball team members entered Friday’s playoff game against Forest Lake with the memory of last year’s post-season fresh in their minds. Forest Lake beat Tri-City in the winners’ bracket final, went on to win the sub-state championship and got to play in the state tournament.

Red wasn’t about to let that happen again this year.

Tri-City rolled to an 11-1 victory in the Sub-State 8 tournament game played at Midway Stadium in St. Paul. The win sends Tri-City Red to Sunday’s tournament final.

Forest Lake took a brief 1-0 lead in the top of the first but Tri-City responded with three runs in the bottom of the first and never trailed again.

Ben Mezzenga got the offense started with a leadoff walk and he later scored on Ryan Plasencia’s sacrifice fly. Alec Abercrombie followed with a triple and scored on Joe Fredrickson’s double and Fredrickson later scored on Chance Carnahan’s base hit.

That was it for the offense for four innings until Tri-City broke the game open in the sixth. Charlie Callahan led off with a triple and scored on a wild pitch. Then, with the bases empty, Red rattled off four straight two-out singles to add three more runs. Nick Lovdahl got the parade started and Nate Douvier followed. Mezzenga then singled home Lovdahl and Plasencia drove in Douvier. Mezzenga closed out the scoring when he scampered home on a wild pitch.

Tri-City tacked on two more runs in the seventh on a two-run home run by Callahan, who drove the ball over the right-field fence just inside the foul pole. Fredrickson, who led off the inning with a base hit, also scored on the blast.

Red then ended the game in the eighth with two more runs. Plasencia singled and scored on another Callahan triple and Carnahan drove in Callahan with the game-ending run that put Tri-City ahead by 10.

Callahan finished with three extra base hits, three runs scored and three driven in while Carnahan had three hits and Mezzenga had two hits, two walks and scored twice. Douvier and Fredrickson both doubled and singled and Plasencia had two hits also.

Tri-City Red starting pitcher Henry DeCaster struggled in the first inning as he gave up a hit and two walks but settled down and ended up going seven innings to pick up the victory. Lovdahl relieved DeCaster in the eighth and pitched a 1-2-3 frame.

The loss drops Forest Lake in the losers’ bracket, where it must win on Saturday night to gain the final against Tri-City. Also still alive are Stillwater and Maplewood Green, who meet at 5 p.m. for the right to face Forest Lake in the nightcap. Both games are at Midway Stadium, as is Sunday’s final.

Many reasons win was big

Tri-City Red’s victory over Forest Lake in the Sub-State 8 playoffs on Friday night was big for a bunch of reasons.

By beating Forest Lake, Tri-City advances to the championship final on Sunday and needs only one victory to earn a berth in the state tournament. The team Tri-City faces on Sunday must win twice.

Friday’s win also gives Tri-City Red a day off on Saturday, allowing the team to rest up for Sunday’s finale.

For Tri-City Red head coach Steve Grasley, having no game on Saturday is doubly important. Since he doesn’t have to coach a game, Grasley is able to attend the wedding of his best friend, former Mounds View and Tri-City Red teammate Billy Schneider.

 

Sub-State 8 American Legion baseball playoffs

First round

Game 1 - Forest Lake 6, Maplewood Green 1

Game 2 – White Bear Lake 6, Tri-City Maroon 4

Game 3 – Lino Lakes 12, Stillwater 2, 7 innings

Game 4 – Tri-City Red 12, Tri-City Blue 2, 7 innings

 

Second round

Game 5 – Maplewood Green 15, Tri-City Maroon 8 (Tri-City Maroon eliminated)

Game 6 – Stillwater 15, Tri-City Blue 8 (Tri-City Blue eliminated)

Game 7 – Forest Lake 7, White Bear Lake 4

Game 8 – Tri-City Red 4, Lino Lakes 2

 

Third round

Game 9 – Stillwater 9, White Bear Lake 1 (White Bear Lake eliminated)

Game 10 – Maplewood Green 12, Lino Lakes 7 (Lino Lakes eliminated)

Game 11 – Tri-City Red 11, Forest Lake 1, 8 innings

 

Fourth round, Saturday, 5 p.m. at Midway Stadium

Game 12 – Stillwater vs. Maplewood Green

 

Fifth round, Saturday, 8 p.m. at Midway Stadium

Game 13 – Forest Lake vs. Game 12 winner

 

Championship round, Sunday, 5 p.m. at Midway Stadium

Game 14 – Tri-City Red vs. Game 13 winner

Game 15 – If necessary, 8 p.m. at Midway Stadium

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