The Princeton Panthers will live to play another day after beating Hinckley 11-3 on Aug 4 in the second round of Class C Region 1 town baseball playoffs.
The Panthers began their post season play on Aug 3 against Hibbing, but were not able to make enough plays as they fell 9-0.
John Patnode, manager of the Princeton team, believes that his squad was feeling the tension of stress of post-season play as they struggled against Hibbing. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect and come out firing on all cylinders right away, so when that didn’t happen it really took the wind out of our sails,” explained Patnode.
That loss set up the win or go home scenario against Hinckley, in which the Panthers responded by winning resoundingly as well as playing much more relaxed in a high-octane situation.
Princeton quickly fell behind 1-0 but never looked back as they took a commanding lead at 8-1 after just two innings of play.
Hinckley would tack on a few more runs but never seriously threatened the Panther’s lead.
Princeton will now face the North Branch Nighthawks in the third round of the playoffs on Aug 10, at Brennan Field in Hinckley.
Playing loose will be a key if the Panthers hope to advance to the fourth round stated Patnode. “We need to laugh and banter with one another, take a deep breath, and play the game we have loved since we were kids.”