Panthers ride 5-game streak to season title

Princeton Panthers pitcher Joe Swanson pitched a complete game against Quamba.

Five straight league wins, including two last week, left Princeton (14-4) tied with Hinckley for the Eastern Minny regular season title.

But, since the Panthers were 2-1 in the season against Hinckley, Princeton got the No. 1 seed for league playoffs that begin this Saturday in Hinckley.

“We played well when we had to at the end,” said manager Jules Zimmer. “Our pitching really came through for us.”

Princeton beat Hinckley 4-3 in a postponed game that was played July 16 in Princeton.

The next night the Panthers traveled to Quamba and came home with a 6-2 victory that was another complete-game win for Joe Swanson.

The Panthers had to wait until last Sunday to find out their seed for the playoffs and they jumped to No. 1 as Hinckley beat Mora that day. If Mora had won Princeton would have gotten the No. 2 seed.

The playoffs open at 4 p.m. Saturday in Hinckley with Rum River playing Nowthen. A 7:30 game between Mora and Quamba follows.

On Sunday Princeton will play at 1 p.m. against the winner of the Rum River-Nowthen game, with Josh Ludwig expected to be the Panthers’ starting pitcher.

Hinckley will play the Mora-Quamba winner at 4 p.m. and at 7 p.m. the two losers from the first day of play will meet, with the loser being out of the tournament.

If Princeton wins Sunday, it will play at home next Wednesday at 7:30 against the winner of Sunday’s second game.

If Princeton loses Sunday, it will still have a home game Wednesday but would be facing elimination with another loss.

The tournament continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the top two teams advancing to the Region 1C tournament Aug. 9-12 in Hinckley. There will also be two teams from the Lakewood League in the region tourney.

Princeton will have home games in the league tournament as long as it remains in the tournament.



Jordan Neubauer’s line single to left, with the bases loaded and one out in the 10th inning, gave the Panthers a 4-3 win over Hinckley at Solheim Veterans Field on Monday of last week.

Mark Beattie opened the inning with a walk, one of nine Princeton had that night, and was sacrificed to second by Josh Vickers.

Walks to Tyler Bialucha and Jared Goldsmith loaded the bases and Neubauer got the winning hit.

“I told Jared, in the on-deck circle, that it was up to him or me to get a hit,” Neubauer said.

Princeton trailed throughout the game, Hinckley taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning, winning pitcher Ludwig helping himself out of a jam by picking a runner off base.

It was 2-2 in the fourth but Hinckley took a 3-2 lead in the sixth.

The Panthers tied the game in the seventh when Ryan Carling doubled and eventually scored on an error.

Ludwig went the distance for the win, giving up two earned runs and walking only two.




Norman,2b 4 2 1 0

Carling,cf 5 1 2 1

Je Zimmer,dh 3 0 0 0

Danna,pr 0 0 0 0

Ludwig,p 0 0 0 0

Solberg,ss 4 0 0 0

Ostmoe,rf 2 0 0 0

Beattie,rf 1 1 0 0

Vickers,ss 3 0 0 1

Bialucha,1b 3 0 0 0

Hanus,pr 0 0 0 0

Goldsmith,lf 3 0 2 9

Neubauer,c 5 0 2 1


33 4 7 3


HINCKLEY 37 3 8 1



IP H R ER BB SO Ludwig 10 8 3 2 2 8




“Joe [Swanson] pitched another complete game for us,” manager Zimmer said. “He has had a great season.”

Quamba matched Princeton’s first-inning run but the Panthers ran off five straight runs before the Cubs scored in the bottom of the seventh, Swanson stranding runners at first and third.

Princeton had a balanced 12-hit attack as every starter but one had a hit.

Matt Solberg, Jesse Zimmer (two doubles), Brett Becklin and Nick Mensen each had two hits and the last six players in the lineup each had one RBI.




Norman,2b 5 0 0 0

Carling,cf 5 1 1 0

Solberg,ss 4 1 2 0

Je Zimmer,2b 4 2 2 1

Vickers,2b 1 0 0 0

Beattie,rf 3 0 1 1

Hanus,rf 1 0 0 0

Goldsmith,lf 3 1 1 1

Becklin,1b 3 0 2 1

Mensen,dh 4 1 2 1

Swanson,p 0 0 0 0

Neubauer,c 4 0 1 1


37 6 12 6


QUAMBA 37 2 9 2



IP H R ER BB SO Swanson 9 9 2 2 2 5