John Solfest hurled a state tournament no-hitter for the Tri-City Red Legion team Thursday as the two-time defending state champions opened with two victories.
TCR needed the gem by Solfest to squeeze past Austin 1-0, but ended the suspense early against Eastview and rolled 10-2 in the second round, both in Paynesville.
The Red (24-3) will face Excelsior, against whom they have a long state tournament history, in the upper-bracket semifinals of the 16-team, double-elimination tournament Friday, 3:30 p.m., in the host city, Cold Spring. The other two 2-0 teams, New Ulm Gold and Edina, will duel at 6 p.m.
Tri-City Red 1, Austin 0
Solfest (5-0) stbuck out 12 batters as he protected TCR’s early one-run lead. Three Austin runners reached base, two on walks and one on an error.
Jonah Sparks scored the lone run in the first inning as he walked with one out, stole second, took third on Robert Hogan’s single, and scooted home when Ike Mezzenga grounded out.
Austin pitcher Josi Bothun limited TCR to four hits and struck out six.
Tri-City Red 10, Eastview 2
TCR had a 10-0 lead after three innings while four pitchers subdued Eastview.
Solfest delivered a two-run single in the second inning and scored on a double by Cole Stenstrom for a 3-0 lead. A double by Mezzenga preceded Solfest’s hit, putting runners at second and third.
Red tallied seven runs in the third inning on 13 at-bats. Mezzenga and Brett Bateman each stroked a two-run single, and Solfest and Hogan each singled home one run.
Bateman, Ben Kettelhut, Sean Goldman, and John Abercrombie took turns on the mound with Kettelhut picking up the win.