Wild 24 hours for Tri-City Red

In a span of about 24 hours, the Tri-City Red American Legion baseball team went through quite a roller-coaster ride in its three state-tournament games. The three games featured a blowout, a nail-biter and elimination.

Here’s a rundown of all three games.

Tri-City Red 26, Maple Grove 2, 7 innings

Maple Grove and Tri-City Red met in the first round of the state tournament on Friday afternoon in Edina. Little did either team know that an inordinate amount of runs would be scored in the game.

With Tri-City Red already comfortably in control with an eight-run lead, the bottom of the fourth inning turned out to be a disaster for Maple Grove. Tri-City sent 18 batters to the plate, 13 of whom made it all the way around to score.

The first eight Tri-City runs in the fourth inning scored without the benefit of a hit or even a batted ball. Five runs came across on bases-loaded walks and the other three were scored when a batter was hit by a pitch with the sacks full.

Following a lead-off groundout, the next 10 batters reached on seven walks and three hit batters. The first hit of the inning came from Nick Lovdahl, who singled to drive in Joe Fredrickson. It was Fredrickson who led off the inning with an out but then walked in his second at-bat of the frame.

Bo Lovdahl followed Nick’s single with a base hit of his own and Ben Mezzenga then doubled to help the scoring continue. Charlie Callahan closed out the parade with a single that scored the last two runs of the inning.

With the blowout in full swing, it was clear that this one would not go the full nine innings thanks to the 10-run rule. That meant that Tri-City Red would finish the game with more runs scored than outs. In the end, Red scored eight more runs than Maple Grove recorded outs.

Tri-City finished the game with 17 hits and Bo and Nick Lovdahl led the team with three each. Callahan, Fredrickson, Alec Abercrombie,  and Ross Indlecoffer added two apiece. Callahan led the team with five runs batted in and Indlecoffer and Bo Lovdahl tied with five runs scored each.

On the mound, Josh Gawoski started for Tri-City Red and picked up the victory with four innings of shutout work. He gave up one run, struck out six and walked three before being lifted prior to the fifth inning. Holden Schmidt finished the final three innings and gave up two runs on four hits, walked one and fanned one.

The 26 runs were the most scored by one team in a Minnesota American Legion state-tournament game since 2010, when Eden Prairie beat Eagan 28-5 in the championship game.

Austin 12, Tri-City Red 11

Following the victory over Maple Grove, Tri-City Red had a few hours to rest before returning to Braemar Field for a second-round game against Austin, which was playing in the state tournament for the first time since 1989. Austin rallied for a 7-6 win over the North St. Paul 39ers in the first round to earn a shot at another Fourth District team in the second round.

That rally theme would appear again for Austin, which trailed by six after three and a half innings before exploding for 12 runs over its final five innings at bat.

The game started well for Tri-City, which got a first-inning triple from Abercrombie. He scored about a minute later on a wild pitch.

Tri-City added five runs in a top of the fourth inning that started off similarly to the giant inning against Maple Grove. Fredrickson and Indlecoffer both scored on bases-loaded walks before Abercrombie drove in a pair of runs with a single. Wyatt Meyer plated the fifth and final run of the inning with another base hit.

Down 6-0, Austin got its comeback started with two runs in the bottom of the fourth off Tri-City Red starting pitcher Erik Holloman. Austin then took the lead with a five-run inning of its own in the fifth.

Tri-City Red knotted the score at 7-7 with a run in the top of the seventh. Bo Lovdahl’s two-out double scored Indlecoffer, who was hit by a pitch with one out.

Austin regained the lead with three runs in the bottom of the seventh but Tri-City scored one in the eighth. Abercrombie led off with a double, took third on a wild pitch and later scored on a groundout.

Not satisfied with a two-run lead, Austin scored two more in the bottom of the eighth to set up a wild finish in the ninth inning.

With one out, Nick Lovdahl and Bo Lovdahl stroked back-to-back singles and Mezzenga walked to load the bases. Ryan Nickel’s walk scored Nick Lovdahl and Bo Lovdahl scored on Abercrombie’s single. Callahan made it a one-run game with a sacrifice fly that plated Mezzenga and left Tri-City Red with runners on first and second with two outs.

Next up was Meyer, who singled to right field. Nickel, the lead runner at second base, was waved home by third-base coach Darcy Ruff but was thrown out at the plate to end the game. The play was close enough to cause some consternation among the Tri-City faithful but the consensus was that the correct call was made.

Tri-City Red pounded out another 14 hits in the loss. Abercrombie went 5-for-5 with a walk, four runs batted in and two runs scored. Mezzenga, Meyer and both Lovdahls had two hits each. Meyer drove in three runs and Nickel added two RBI.

Four different pitchers took the mound for Red. Drake Gran relieved Holloman in the fourth. Callahan went 2 1/3 innings and was saddled with the loss after giving up five runs on three hits and three walks. Indlecoffer closed out the game for Tri-City.

Alexandria 8, Tri-City Red 4

Tri-City was up and at ‘em early on Saturday for a 10 a.m. elimination game at Chaska Athletic Park against Alexandria, which lost 8-7 in the first round to New Ulm Gold and then blanked Sartell 10-0 in the second round.

Alexandria got off to a quick start with two runs in the top of the first off Red starter Nick Lovdahl. Lovdahl ended up going four innings and gave up seven of Alexandria’s eight runs on 11 hits. He struck out two and walked three before giving way to Schmidt in the fifth inning. In five innings of work, Schmidt gave up one run on five hits, walked one and struck out one.

Tri-City also scored in the first inning as Nickel, who reached on fielder’s choice, came home on a Callahan groundout.

The teams traded single runs in the third inning. Red got its marker when Mezzenga singled, stole second and scampered home on Abercrombie’s base hit.

Alexandria then put the game out of reach with four runs in the fourth inning. All four runs were scored with two outs.

Tri-City added single runs in the fifth and seventh innings but couldn’t mount a meaningful rally to get back in the game. Schmidt scored in the fifth inning on Mezzenga’s double and Indlecoffer scored in the seventh on Bo Lovdahl’s sacrifice fly.

After putting up 31 hits in two games on Friday, Tri-City Red managed only eight against Alexandria. Mezzenga had the only multi-hit effort as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored and a run batted in.

The loss put Tri-City Red’s final record at 24-12. Red went 1-2 in the state tournament for the second year in a row.

Tournament overview

The final two games of the state tournament were played on Monday, past the deadline for this edition of the Bulletin. Wayzata, Eden Prairie and New Ulm Gold were still alive for Monday’s games.

Wayzata had already assured itself of a trip to the regional by reaching the state final. It beat Chanhassen, Hutchinson, Austin and Eden Prairie to get to the championship game. New Ulm Gold and Eden Prairie played the losers’ bracket final on Monday morning for a chance at Wayzata in the final that afternoon.

Wayzata and the New Ulm Gold/Eden Prairie winner will play in the Central Plains Regional in Bismarck, North Dakota starting on Wednesday. The eight regional champions advance to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina, starting on Aug. 13.

Brian Meyers can be reached at  bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

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