The Tigers suffered a pair of setbacks this week on the road and saw their record fall to 3-11 on the season. Princeton lost 5-3 at Mora on May 10 then dropped a 9-0 contest at Big Lake on May 11.
The PHS offense pounded out ten hits in the game against Mora (9-3) and held a 2-0 lead after the top of the first inning. However, the Mustangs scored four unanswered runs over the first four innings to take a 4-2 lead they would not relinquish. Brennen Godeen was 2-2 with a double, a run scored and a pair of walks, Jordan Bachmeyer raised his average near .400 on the season by going 2-3 and Zack Ludwig was 2-3 at the plate as well.
Godeen pitched the first two innings for the Tigers and gave up one run on five hits before yielding to Ludwig, who pitched the last four innings. “We could just not get a hit when we needed one,” Tigers’ head coach Jesse Zimmer said.
Big Lake pitcher Sam Dokkenbakken threw a complete game five-hitter in shutting out PHS on May 11th. The Hornets’ Tyler Halvorson led the charge on offense, going 2-3 with a home run, three runs batted in and two runs scored.
“We did not come ready to play against Big Lake, and it showed,” Zimmer said.
Three Tigers managed to get at least one hit against Dokkenbakken. Dalton Mattson went 3-3 with one double while Godeen and Mitch Hager each had a double. Mattson started and lasted 4.2 innings before giving way to reliever Dan Muench.
PHS got back into the ‘W’ column on Monday, May 14th with an 8-0 win against Milaca at Solheim Field. All of the winning elements were in place for the Tigers. “We pitched well, played good defense and hit the ball well after struggling offensively last week,” Zimmer said.
The Tigers’ win snapped a “nasty eight-game losing streak,” in the words of coach Zimmer, with just a handful of games remaining in the regular season. Their 4-6 record in the Granite Ridge Conference puts them in fifth place, 5.5 games behind first-place Little Falls. The Flyers (8-0) are two games clear of St. Cloud Cathedral (6-2) and Mora (6-2). The Crusaders have one head-to-head matchup remaining with the Mustangs. Foley (3-5) is in fourth place just a half-game ahead of Princeton.
Note: Tigers’ head coach Jesse Zimmer and Josh Ludwig were among a group of Eastern Minny All-Stars that took part in an exhibition game against the St. Paul Saints in Hinckley on May 12. Zimmer walked in his only plate appearance.
“The Saints won 9-0, but it was a good experience,” Zimmer said. “There was a very good crowd and it was a great day outside.”