The Princeton American Legion Baseball team mounted an upset of Wayzata at the District 10 p
Entering the stacked American Legion District 10 baseball tourney last week, Princeton made some noise with an opening-round win before falling in its next two games. The Post #216 squad finished the summer season with a 12-9 overall record.
On July 26 in Bloomington, Princeton rallied hard to defeat Wayzata 7-6 in 10 innings. Starting pitcher Zack Ludwig gave up five runs in the first two innings, but he settled down nicely to go the distance, allowing only two walks in the game.
“Zack had all three of his pitches going that day – fastball, change-up and curve – and he needed all three against Wayzata,” said Princeton coach Troy Kinney.
Facing the 5-0 deficit, Nick Zeroth supplied the early spark with a two-run homer in the bottom of the second. Wayzata later tacked on a run, so Post #216 was down 6-2 entering the ninth.
In the bottom of the inning, Princeton had a runner at first with two outs. Ludwig helped his cause by lacing a run-scoring double, then Princeton rapped out three straight singles to keep the rally going. The tying run came home when Zeroth reached on an error at short.
Ludwig set down Wayzata in order in the top of the 10th. Justin Sjoquist led off for Princeton with a base hit and was sacrificed ahead on Dan Voce’s bunt. Following a ground out, Ludwig came through again by scoring Sjoquist on a single.
Two tough games to close out season
Heading back to Bloomington Friday afternoon, Princeton faced Eden Prairie, ranked eighth among Minnesota Legion teams this season. The summer Eagles rolled to a 19-1 win in five innings.
“They just hit the ball hard,” said Kinney. “They had three homers and four doubles, and we also had four errors on hard hits.”
The Princeton boys managed five hits off EP pitchers while striking out just four times, so they put the ball in play.
Saturday afternoon, the Legion’s season ended in a 16-8 loss to Monticello. Monti stacked up 20 hits while also receiving five walks and two hit-batsmen.
Post #216 actually led 5-2 in the first inning when Thomas Klaphake doubled home a pair of runs, then RBI hits were added by Dalton Mattson and Sjoquist. Monticello pulled ahead 6-5 in the third inning and kept increasing its lead. Zeroth provided one last spark for Princeton by doubling off the top of the wall in the sixth, just missing his third homer of the season.
Edina (ranked seventh), Eden Prairie, Monticello and Hopkins will represent District 10 at the Div. I Minnesota American Legion State tournament Aug. 3-6 in Chaska.