Tri-City legion teams gearing up for post-season

A week from now, the Tri-City American Legion baseball teams will be smack dab in the middle of the post-season. The sub-state playoffs, which are the qualifying tournaments for the state tournament, take place next week and all three Tri-City teams play in the same sub-state.

Tri-City Red, Maroon and Blue have a handful of games this week as they close out the regular season and prepare for the playoffs.

The Sub-State 8 seedings will be released over the weekend.

Tri-City Red

Red has by far the busiest week coming up. It has already played in the playoffs of the Gopher Classic this week and it has two district games and another tournament this weekend to play.

Tri-City Red won its pool in the Gopher Classic last weekend with a 4-1 record and advanced to the playoff portion of the tournament. Those games took place past the deadline for this edition of the Bulletin.

Red opened pool play with a 6-5 loss to St. Louis Park but bounced back to beat North St. Paul Cavalry, Osseo, Sioux Falls East and Brooklyn Center. St. Louis Park had a chance to knock Tri-City out of the tournament with a victory on Sunday afternoon but a loss to Osseo eliminated SLP and allowed Tri-City to advance.

Osseo also went 4-1 in pool play but lost the tie-breaker with Tri-City Red because of Red’s head-to-head victory over the Orioles.

Once the Gopher Classic, in which Tri-City Red was the runner-up last year, concludes, Red has two Fourth District games to play on Wednesday at CHS Field. Red takes on Tri-City Maroon at 3:30 p.m. to complete a previously postponed game and then they play a regularly-scheduled game at 6 p.m.

Red entered this week with a half-game lead over Hamline Purple in the district standings. Tri-City can guarantee itself at least a share of the district championship with a sweep of Maroon on Wednesday.

Tri-City Red plays in a weekend tournament in the southwest metro. The Eden Prairie/Excelsior/Hopkins Invitational runs Thursday through Saturday and features six teams.

Joining Tri-City Red are Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Hopkins, Prior Lake and Shakopee. Red plays Hopkins at Big Willow in Minnetonka on Thursday at 8:15 p.m., Eden Prairie at Round Lake Stadium in Eden Prairie at 7:45 p.m. on Friday and Excelsior at Veteran's Field in Minnetonka on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. All of the games in the tournament are nine-inning contests.

Tri-City Maroon

Maroon advanced to the playoffs of the Gopher Classic for the first time last year and looked poised to do so again last weekend. Maroon won its first three pool-play games, held at Irondale High School, but ran into trouble in game four.

After knocking off the Rochester Patriots, Renner and St. Francis, Maroon went up against Chippewa Falls on Saturday evening.

Tri-City and Chippewa Falls were tied after seven innings before Chippewa broke the game open in the top of the eighth. Chippewa Falls went on to win 11-4 and that game turned out to be the deciding game in the pool.

Maroon, which closed out pool play with a win over Andover on Sunday evening, and Chippewa both went 4-1 in pool play but the tie-breaker, based on head-to-head match-ups, went to Chippewa Falls.

With the Gopher Classic in the rearview mirror, Maroon has four Fourth District games to focus on this week. Tri-City faces North St. Paul Cavalry on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at CHS Field. On Wednesday, it's back to CHS for a doubleheader against Tri-City Red starting at 3:30 p.m. Maroon then closes out the regular season Thursday at home against the North St. Paul 39ers.

Tri-City begins the week with an outside shot at a share of the district title. Maroon would have to win all four of its games and get some help along the way. Tri-City Maroon trails Tri-City Red and Hamline Purple by two games in the loss column.

Tri-City Blue

Tri-City Blue closes out its regular-season schedule this week with three games, two of which are at home.

Blue opens the week on Tuesday against Ham Lake at the Paul Parkway baseball complex in Blaine. Tri-City then hosts Park Center on Wednesday and Armstrong on Saturday afternoon.

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

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