You don't have to understand baseball, or even like watching it, to have been proud of Princeton and the American Legion baseball program that was celebrated last Friday night at Solheim Veterans Field.
More than 70 players, ranging from the years 1960 to 2017, showed up to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the field and the Legion baseball tournament that was being held for the 50th consecutive year.
Those two paragraphs will serve as a teaser for next week.
Daily diary for the 2019 Twins
Saturday, July 20 — The Twins had a 3-2 lead but lost 5-3 to Oakland on Friday after winning the night before.
Sunday, July 21 — Ace reliever Taylor Rogers gave up two runs in the ninth, both coming after he had two outs and no one on base, and the Twins suffered a painful 5-4 loss to Oakland at home Saturday night. The Twins were hitting .211 with the bases loaded, 28th among the 30 MLB teams, and left the bases loaded in the eighth and ninth innings without scoring. Minnesota had three homers, all with no one on base, a trend that has continued for much of the season. A good start by Jose Berrios (5 1/3 innings, no runs, but 113 pitches) was wasted.
Monday, July 22 — A two-run rally in the ninth inning, capped by a Max Kepler RBI single, gave Minnesota a 7-6 win over Oakland before a crowd of 34,070 on Sunday afternoon. Kepler also had a three-run homer. Ehire Adrianza scored the winning run after hitting an RBI triple to tie the game. Two disturbing trends continued: The bullpen had given up 15 earned runs the past three games and the team was hitting only .189 with runners in scoring position over the last 10 games.
Tuesday, July 23 — A triple play by the Twins, five homers — all solos — and a run scored on catcher's interference added up to an 8-6 win over the Yankees' C.C. Sabathia who was previously 20-9 in his career against Minnesota. The bullpen gave up only one run in five innings and Aussie Lewis Thorpe, in his second major league appearance, got the win. Can it be that the Twins are going to win the series against the mighty Yanks?
Wednesday, July 24 — There were three times Tuesday night I thought the Yankee jinx would be put to rest. A three-run Miguel Sano homer put the team ahead 8-2 in the fourth inning — but then Kyle Gibson gave up a three-run homer with two outs in the fifth. Then there was a 9-5 lead in the eighth that I thought was safe — but the bullpen gave up five runs and the Yanks led 10-9. No matter — Sano hit a monstrous 2-run homer in the bottom of the inning for an 11-10 lead. That lead seemed safe because reliever Rogers easily got two outs and was facing the No. 9 hitter, a lefty. But, after getting ahead 1-2 on the count, Rogers issued a walk and former Twin Aaron Hicks homers for a 12-11 lead. (I don't know if I'm right or wrong but it seems Minnesota pitchers give up a lot of hits after being ahead on the count 0-2 or 1-2. They have given up 12 home runs on 0-2 counts, second most in the majors.) The Twins tied it in the ninth but lost 14-12 in 10 innings, scoring one run in the ninth after loading the bases with no outs (the run came without a hit) and loading the bases in the 10th and not scoring because of a great catch by Hicks to end the game. That equates to one run in two innings when the bases were loaded. By the way, a few weeks ago on SKOR North (formerly ESPN 1500, and KSTP before that) one of the expert commentators suggested the Twins designate Sano for assignment — yes, give him away for nothing. Good thing that guy isn't the GM.
Thursday, July 25 — Sorry, nothing has changed -— the Yankees won the series 2-1 with a 10-7 win before a crowd of 40,000-plus of which I was a part, Wednesday night. The Twins simply cannot beat the Yankees. In the second inning second baseman Jonathon Schoop missed a tag, two outfielders threw to the wrong base, and four runs ended up being scored by New York when it should have been 1 or 2 off Jake Odorizzi. The Twins scored 27 runs in the three games and won only once. Yes, it was against a good team but, for whatever reason, the Twins can't beat the Yanks. Later, on the WCCO Radio post-game show I listened to as I drove home, a caller suggested that Byron Buxton was so valuable that had he been in the lineup the Twins would have won the last two games of the series. I wanted to talk to that guy and remind him that Buxton doesn't pitch. The Yankees scored 30 runs in the series, 24 in their two wins. That's 13 years in a row that the Twins have lost the season series to the Yankees. Oh yes - Max Kepler wasn't in the lineup despite being a hot hitter. What is the manager thinking? That's ridiculous!
Friday, July 26—The Twins got a much-needed 10-3 win in Chicago but the Indians won in extra innings and stayed only two games behind. For those who say it's too early to be scoreboard watching, it's not. A reminder should be issued that just because Minnesota is playing the White Sox, and on the surface has an easier schedule ahead than the Indians, the Twins still have to beat teams like the White Sox, Kanas City and Detroit. Cleveland went 11-1 against Detroit so far and the Twins haven't done as well against the lowly Tigers. But it was an nice win in Chicago, Jose Berrios getting his first win in seven weeks despite four errors by his mates, and the Twins becoming the first team EVER in the majors to hit five or more home runs nine times in a season. The game was remindful of those back in April and May when there was good pitching and lots of homers. The Twins have a MLB-leading 199 home runs. It wasn't like the five homers came against a bad pitcher — White Sox ace Lucas Gilolito had given up only 10 this season before surrendering four last night. Will the Indians ever lose another game?
PRINCETON SPORTS MEMORIES
July 30, 1959 - There were 25 cars signed in at the Princeton Speedway and the approximately 1,000 fans voted for the title of Hot Rod Queen who was to be crowned at the Mille Lacs County Fair . . . Arnold, Dahle, Doug Fraser and Jerry Sandberg each shot a 39 in league play at the Rum River Golf Club.
July 30, 1964 - Steve Lindell drove in five runs as the Princeton town team beat Foley in 12 innings, 8-6. The winning run was driven in by Ken Weissenfluh.
July30, 1969 - As the Legion team headed into the North End playoffs, Tom Miller led the team with a .366 average and the pitchers had 18 complete games in 23 starts. The staff ERA was1.83 and Ron Deglmann had pitched four of the team's six shutouts.
July 31, 1974 - Wins over Pine City, Cambridge and Milaca gave the Princeton Legion baseball team the North End playoff title . . . PHS grad Don Snow of Princeton played well for the defense as the North team beat the South team 30-0 in the high school all-star football game.
Aug. 2, 1979 - Harry Carlson won his second straight senior title at the Rum River Golf Club . . . Dave Mingo and Tom Wolcyn pitched 9-2 and 2-1 wins for Princeton over Rush City in town team playoff baseball. Buzz Johnson and Kevin VanHooser each drove in two runs in the first game.
Aug. 2, 1984 - Debbie Swanson and Jay Prebix won junior titles at the Rum River Golf Club . . . The Legion baseball team won the North End playoff title for the 10th time in 12 years . . . Mike Ziegler won the state Class D singles title at the Minnesota State Trapshoot.
Aug. 3, 1989 - The Princeton Panthers beat St. Francis twice to advance to regional play, Chris Klinghagen (solo) and Brian Dorr (grand slam) hitting homers in the 6-3 second game . . . Complete-game victories by Troy Kinney and Matt Skarohlid helped the Princeton Legion team advance to District 10 play.
Aug. 4, 1994 - A Princeton Sandy Koufax team won the state tournament and advanced to regional play in Illinois as Paul Deglmann hit .538 . . . The Princeton Legion team hit .469 in four playoff games and advanced to District 10 play. Pitcher Jon Huehn had two wins.
July 29, 1999 - The Princeton Panthers rallied twice to win games. They trailed the Forest Lake Lakers 6-0 in the fifth inning but won 7-6 in 13 innings on a Dan Patnode (5 hits) RBI, Troy Scheffel pitching six innings of scoreless relief for the win. The Panthers trailed Mora 4-0 in the third inning but won 10-6 as Mike VanDeRiet pitched a complete game for the win. Chad Carling drove in three runs, Chad Campbell two. Carling's homer made him the 13th member of the team with at least one homer . . . The Princeton team won the Five Star golf competition with a 576, 18 strokes better than Cambridge. Team members were Donna Brooks (she led the team with a 90), RaeLee Anderson, Jan Rosen, Helen Sanborn, Connie Roehl, Marianne Ossell, Vicky Anderson and Jean Gustafson.
Aug. 5, 2004 - The Princeton Panthers beat the Cambridge Blues 10-6 and 11-3 to advance to the Region 1C tournament. Jesse Zimmer (5-0, 3.04 ERA) pitched the first game. Zimmer drove in three runs, Chad Carling and Brian Dorr two each, Carling upping his hitting streak to 25 games. Jason Miller (7-2, 1.36 ERA) got the win in the second game, Zimmer hitting a grand slam. Dorr was walked three times and saw his hitting streak, during which he hit .515, end at 10 games.
Aug. 6, 2009 - The Dave's Sport Shop/Ideal Industries Class D coed softball team won the state title. Brad Hatch hit .692 and Amy Olson hit .667. They were the male and female MVPs for the tournament . . . The Princeton Panthers beat Chisago Lakes 7-0 and 4-3 to advance to Region 1C play, Josh Ludwig (5-2, 2.54) getting the shutout and Joe Swanson (7-0, 1.54) getting the 4-3 win in relief. Ludwig extended a streak to 24 innings without an earned run and teams were hitting .194 against Swanson.
July 31, 2014 - The Legion baseball team finished third in the Sub State tournament at Princeton, the season ending with a 9-8 16-inning loss to Cambridge after Princeton took a one-run lead in the top of the inning. Damon Rademacher had four hits. Princeton was upset by North Branch in its opening game but then beat Big Lake 16-5 behind Sam Archer and then beat Elk River 3-2 behind Dalton Mattson. The team finished 12-8-1.
Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years), and has covered sports in the Princeton area for 52 years.