Baseball: Tigers drop season opener

Princeton’s Jake Anderson slides into second base under the outstretched body of St. Cloud Cathedral’s second baseman. Anderson was safe on the play.

The Princeton Tigers opened up their 2012 season with a 7-1 home loss to St. Cloud Cathedral on Thursday, April 12. The Crusaders are the defending state champions.

Cathedral scored four runs in the fourth inning to distance themselves from the Tigers. Michael Ellingson led off the frame with a double and scored on Waylon Bemboom’s single up the middle. Bemboom reached second on a stolen base, then gained third on a wild pitch. Second baseman Matt Dodge knocked in Bemboom with a single and eventually scored on a Mark Henning groundout.

Tigers starting pitcher Zack Ludwig lasted just over three innings, exiting in the fourth with one out and runners on second and third. Ludwig ended his season debut with a line of 3.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 1K and 3 BB. Dalton Mattson and Dan Muench each pitched in relief.

Princeton’s lone run came in the sixth inning when Thomas Klaphake scored on a Jake Anderson RBI double. Anderson led the Tigers at the plate, reaching safely all three times with two walks and the RBI double.

Cathedral left-handed starting pitcher Jeff Fasching was excellent on the mound with a hard fastball complementing his breaking pitches. Fasching had six strikeouts in the game and only allowed one hit through the game’s first five innings on his way to the victory.

“St. Cloud Cathedral is a very good baseball team. They came out and played how a defending state champion should play,” Tigers’ head coach Jesse Zimmer said. “It was a collective effort on their part. They played very well.”

The Tigers have a stacked schedule early in the season with games against St. Cloud Cathedral, Little Falls, Mora and Chisago Lakes on the docket. With the tough schedule ahead, the Tigers’ Zimmer said, “We gotta bounce back. Tomorrow we’ve got to practice hard and clean up some things.”

Also of note, the Tigers only started one senior on the afternoon but Zimmer didn’t think that was a factor in the loss. “We can use the excuse all we want about being young last year, but those guys had a full season of varsity play. We are varsity players and we should play like it,” Zimmer said.