Tri-City Red will take a 22-3 record into the state American Legion tournament after sweeping through the Sub-State 8 tournament with four wins last week.
The squad of Mounds View players, coached by Nik Anderson, will seek its third consecutive state championship.
Ike Mezzenga drove home eight runs in four games as TCR outscored opponents 26-4. In the first two rounds in Lindstrom, TCR beat Tri-City Blue (St. Anthony) 10-0 on Tuesday and Tri-City Maroon (Irondale) 6-0 on Wednesday. Back on their home field, TCR beat Stillwater 5-2 on Friday and Tri-City Maroon 5-2 on Saturday.
TCR will open at state on Thursday against Austin at 10 a.m. in Paynesville. Cold Spring is the host of the 16-team, four-day, double-elimination tournament, with games also played at Paynesville, St. Martin and Watkins.
Other first-round pairings are Eastview vs. Minneapolis Southwest, Woodbury Blue vs. Excelsior, Lakeview vs. Rosetown, East Grand Forks vs. Anoka, Edina vs. Buffalo, Ham Lake vs. St. Cloud Chutes, and New Ulm Gold vs. Cold Spring.
Following is the Sub-State 8 summary.
Tri-City Red 10, Tri-City Blue 0 — Ben Kettelhut threw five innings, allowing two hits, striking out four, to get the win. Trevor Rankin struck out the side in the seventh. Mezzenga hit a two-run homer, Carter Traczyk delivered two RBI singles, and Brett Bateman had two singles and two runs.
Tri-City Red 6, Tri-City Maroon 0 —John Solfest allowed just one hit and struck out 10 in is innings and Rankin again finished. Mezzenga knocked in three runs with a two-run double and single, Bateman socked a two-run single, and Jonah Sparks had two singles and two walks.
Tri-City Red 5, Stillwater 2 — RBI hits came from Solfest (two-run double), Cole Stenstrom (squeeze bunt), Matt Herold (double), and Traczyk (single). Bateman gave up two runs in the first inning but no more in 5 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and striking out nine. Stenstrom notched the last five outs for the save.
Tri-City Reds 5, Tri-City Maroon 2 — Kettelhut pitched three innings (one run), Sean Goldman 2 1/3 innings (one run) and Hogan 1 2/3 innings (no runs). Traczyk belted an RBI triple in the first and scored on a dropped pop-up. Mezzenga knocked in three runs with a single and two-run double.