A four-run first inning helped spark the Princeton American Legion baseball team to an 11-6 win over Milaca on Thursday, June 21 to improve its record to 5-3 heading into a Monday, July 2 doubleheader against Mora. (Those games were played after the Union-Eagle’s early press deadline due to the July 4 holiday. Results can be found at www.unioneagle.com.)
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning, Princeton took advantage of three consecutive inning-opening singles to climb past Milaca on the scoreboard.
Daniel Voce had a lead-off single, followed by a Dalton Mattson single that put runners on first and second.
Zack Ludwig came to the plate and ripped a single that scored Voce to tie the game at 1-1. Riley Miller came to the plate with a hit to the Milaca pitcher, who threw the ball past first base. The error allowed Mattson and Ludwig to score. On the next at-bat, a Thomas Klaphake triple allowed Ludwig to score and put Princeton up 4-1. Klaphake was called out at the plate while trying to score after a Milaca outfielder overthrew his cutoff man.
Milaca regained the lead after a four-run second inning put the visitors up 5-4.
But Princeton capitalized on two Milaca errors to come back with a run to tie the game at 5-5 after two innings.
Justin Sjoquist led off the second by getting hit by a pitch. He advanced to second on a sacrifice fly from Louis Servaty. Mattson became the second player of the inning to be hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. A Ludwig single then brought Sjoquist home to tie the game.
Milaca stayed off the scoreboard until the sixth inning. Meanwhile, Princeton was busy building it’s game-winning lead.
Princeton’s Luke Nierengarten hit a lead-off single to open the third inning. Klaphake then hit his second triple of the night to bring Nierengarten home and give Princeton a 6-5 lead. A Sjoquist single then brought Klaphake safely home.
Milaca then loaded the bases when Servaty was hit by a pitch and Voce was walked. Mattson then hit a single that brought two runs in. Mattson then scored on a Ludwig double to put Princeton up 10-5.
Princeton scored one more run in the fourth inning.
Lead-off hitter Nierengarten was hit by a pitch but was called out a play later when Miller hit into a double play.
Klaphake answered with a single, stole second and advance to third on a passed ball. He scored on a wild pitch to put Princeton up 11-5.
Princeton’s Mattson earned the win, facing 20 batters in three innings. He gave up seven runs off of five hits and walks. He recorded one strikeout.
Dan Muench pitched four innings in relief, giving up one run. He gave up one hit and had no walks. He struck out four Milaca batters.
Princeton’s next game is July 9 at Chisago Lakes. They return home for a game against St. Francis on July 10.
AB R H RBI
Voce 3 1 1 0
Mattson 3 0 2 2
Ludwig 4 1 4 2
Godeen 4 0 0 0
Nierengarten 3 1 1 2
Muench 1 0 0 0
Miller 3 0 0 1
Klaphake 4 2 4 2
Sjoquist 1 2 1 1
Servaty 1 1 0 0
Totals 28 11 13 10