Tri-City Red falls short of state berth

The Sub-State 8 American Legion baseball tournament ran two days longer than originally planned because of high heat and rain. The three teams that advanced to the final day were the top three seeds in the tournament.

In the end, the lowest seed of those three remaining claimed the sub-state title and a trip to the state tournament. That No. 3 seed was Forest Lake.

Forest Lake cruised to a first-round victory before losing to Tri-City Red in the second round. With no room for error, Forest Lake rattled off four straight victories to win the tournament.

One of those wins was an 8-6 victory over Tri-City Red, the No. 2 seed, in the semifinals. The loss was Tri-City’s second of the tournament and eliminated it from contention.

Forest Lake followed up the win over Tri-City Red by beating top-seeded Stillwater 3-1 to claim the sub-state title.

Forest Lake became the second program to win two Sub-State 8 titles. It also won the inaugural championship in 2013. Tri-City Red won Sub-State 8 in 2014 and 2015 to become the first two-time winner.

 

State tournament

Forest Lake made the most of its trip to the state tournament. Victories over Bemidji, Champlin, Maple Grove and Woodbury Blue put Forest Lake in the championship game and guaranteed it a spot in the regional tournament.

The state-title game took place past the deadline for this edition of the Bulletin but regardless of the outcome, Forest Lake had secured a trip to Bismarck, North Dakota, for the Central Plains Regional, the winner of which advances to the American Legion World Series. The regional is August 3-7.

Also still in the running after Sunday’s games for a berth in the regional were Wayzata and Woodbury Blue. They met in the losers-bracket final on Monday and the winner played Forest Lake for the state title. The Minnesota state champion and runner-up both advance to the Central Plains regional.

The American Legion World Series, which is in its 90th year, is August 11-16 in Shelby, North Carolina. 

The 16 teams in the state tournament this year represented seven of the 10 districts in Minnesota. The districts that did not advance a team to the state tournament were Five, Seven and Nine.

This if the fourth year of the Sub-State format used to determine the state-tournament field. The American Legion baseball teams in the state are divided into 15 groups called sub-states and each sub-state holds a double-elimination tournament to determine a champion. 

In four years, two districts have yet to see a team advance to state via a sub-state championship. Districts Five and Nine haven’t been represented in the state tournament since 2011, the last year of district tournaments being the route to the state tournament.

Since the sub-state format was instituted, no team has made it to state all four years. Four teams  New Ulm Gold, Champlin, Grand Rapids and Alexandria  have made it to state three times. A total of 17 teams have been to state twice in the sub-state era.

 

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

 

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