Tri-City Red is making its bid to repeat as state champion this week.
The Legion baseball team composed of Mounds View athletes took an 18-3 record into the District 4 tournament which starts Tuesday and will conclude Saturday. The champion advances to state. The state title earned by Red last year was the program’s sixth.
Tri-City Red is ranked No. 2 in the state. Another District 4 team, Lino Lakes, is ranked No. 4.
Coached by Nik Anderson, the Red have won two big tournaments. They were champs at the Fargo-Moorhead Invitational, beating Moorhead 5-1 in the finals June 30. Ike Mezzenga and Cole Stenstrom pitched, and Carter Traczyk delivered a two-run single. They also went 4-0 in the Burnsville Snake Pit Tournament June 21-23.
Tri-City Red closed the regular season July 19 with a sweep of Arcade-Phalen, 19-5 and 14-2, to wrap up the District 4 league title. Mezzenga was 4-for-5 with a two-run homer in the opener. John Solfest pitched and went 2-for-4 with four RBIs. In game two, Cole Stenstrom ripped a bases-loaded triple during a 10-run first inning. Brett Bateman was 4-for-4, hit a two-run homer and knocked in five runs. Matt Herold and Mezzenga pitched.
Top hitters are Bateman (.514, 30 runs), Jonah Sparks (.422, 19 RBIs, 27 runs), Channing Cole (.368), Mezzenga (.358, 19 RBIs), Robert Hogan (.407, two homers, four triples and 17 RBI in 11 games) and Traczyk (19 hits in eight games, a .679 average). On the mound, Bateman and Ben Kettelhut have four wins each and Solfest three.