Tri-City moves to 2-0 in state legion tournament

The Tri-City Red American Legion baseball team went 2-0 on the first day of the state tournament and enters day two of the four-day event as one of four 2-0 teams.

After victories over New Ulm Gold and Hopkins on Friday, next up for Tri-City Red is a third-round match-up against Burnsville, which spent a good part of the summer ranked No. 1 in the weekly state coaches poll. Tri-City takes on Burnsville at 4 p.m. at Athletic Park in Chaska.

Tri-City opened the tournament Friday morning with a 9-5 victory over Second District champion New Ulm Gold. Max Knutson and Sam Hentges combined for seven runs batted in while starting pitcher Karl Elfstrom gave up one run in six innings of work to pick up the victory. Knutson provided a pair of two-run singles and Hentges tripled home three runs. Elfstrom scattered six hits and walked five to go with two strikeouts.

The victory was the first in a state tournament for a Tri-City Red team since an 8-7 victory over the Rochester Patriots in the third round of the 2007 tournament.

In the second round, Tri-City took on Hopkins, the fourth-place team from the 10th District and a 5-4 victor over top-ranked Eastview in the first round. Red edged Hopkins 3-1 behind a strong performance from starting pitcher Max Knutson, who gave up one run on three hits in eight innings. He walked five and struck out eight before giving way to Matt Herringshaw, who pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save.

Tri-City scored single runs in the third, seventh and eighth innings. In the third, Mitch Frederickson led off with a single, stole second, took third on a Sam Meyer base hit and scored on an error on the play.

Ben Mezzenga added to Tri-City's lead in the seventh when he singled, stole second and scored on Brett Becker's single. An inning later, Hentges added to his RBI total with a solo home run.

Hopkins tried for a rally in the ninth against Herringshaw when Matt Sinderson led off with a double. Herringshaw shut down the threat by inducing a pair of groundouts to the right side sandwiched around a strikeout.

Joining Tri-City Red and Burnsville in the winner's bracket are Lakeville North and Edina. Lakeville took care of Monticello and Giant Valley on Friday while Edina beat Grand Rapids and Alexandria.

Minnesota American Legion Division I baseball state tournament First round Tri-City Red 9, New Ulm Gold 5 Hopkins 5, Eastview 4 Winona 5, Fergus Falls 4, 10 innings Burnsville 6, Eden Prairie 0 Giant Valley 4, Waite Park 1 Lakeville North 7, Monticello 0 Edina 8, Grand Rapids 1 Alexandria 4, Chaska 2

Second round New Ulm Gold 8, Eastview 5 (Eastview eliminated) Tri-City Red 3, Hopkins 1 Eden Prairie 17, Fergus Falls 3, 7 innings (Fergus Falls eliminated) Burnsville 6, Winona 2 Waite Park 12, Monticell0 2, 8 innings (Monticello eliminated) Lakeville North 12, Giant Valley 2, 7 innings Grand Rapids 7, Chaska 5 (Chaska eliminated) Edina 2, Alexandria 1

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