Forty-five years ago, Princeton’s legendary baseball coach, Howard “Swede” Solheim, started an invitational tournament to coincide with the opening of the new baseball field at Mark Park, a field built under the leadership of Solheim. It was one of the first tournaments of its kind in Minnesota.
Two weekends ago, at the field now called Solheim Veterans Field, the 45th annual Princeton American Legion Baseball Tournament was held.
Teams from Marshall, Grand Rapids, River Falls (Wisconsin), Cloquet, Rogers, Lino Lakes (Centennial High School) and St. Francis participated, along with Princeton. And, for the first time since 1988, Princeton won the tournament, beating Rogers in an exciting game.
Legion head coach Troy Kinney; assistant coach Jesse Zimmer; VFW coaches, announcers and scoreboard operators Jeff Beckers and Jules Zimmer; statistician Megan ; announcer and scoreboard operator Jordan Neubauer; and many others contributed work in the booth and on the field that made the tournament run smoothly, a tournament that annually draws rave reviews from fans and players from all around the state.
Then, last week, teams from Elk River, St. Francis, Cambridge, Big Lake, Zimmerman, North Branch, Buffalo and Princeton were in Princeton for a five-day Sub State tournament that sent a team (St. Francis) to the state Legion tournament after 15 games of play.
Those 15 games, combined with the 12 of the previous weekend, went off without a hitch, thanks to the people mentioned above, as well as others. Fans from other towns shopped here, dined here and stayed overnight here as Princeton received lots of good comments for the well-run tournaments.
Thanks to those hard workers for their time and effort to keep Princeton’s name in the forefront of places where baseball tournaments are done right.