Tri-City Red gave up two runs in the last of the seventh and lost to Excelsior 7-6 on Friday in a duel of 2-0 teams at the state American Legion baseball tournament in Cold Spring.
To win its third consecutive state title, Red (24-4) now has to battle through the sudden-death bracket, starting with a game against Woodbury Blue on Saturday, 10 a.m. The winner will play at 3:30 p.m. against the winner of New Ulm Gold vs. Buffalo.
The two 3-0 teams, Excelsior and Edina, will duel at 6 p.m.The top two teams in the state tournament will advance to regionals. The tournament concludes Sunday.
Ike Mezzenga knocked in three runs for TCR with a double and a single. Mezzenga tried to steal home after his two-run double in the fourth but was out. Red tried another steal of home in the fifth and Jonah Sparks was successful in that attempt.
Red led 5-2 in the middle of the fifth and 6-4 in the middle of the sixth when Matt Herold was hit by pitch, took second on Cole Stenstrom’s single and scored on Robert Hogan’s single.
Hogan pitched four innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. Stenstrom pitched the final 2 2/3 and took the loss.