By David Jenkins
Qualifying for the Class 4A Region II playoffs was no easy task.
The Panthers responded to some late season District 12-4A losses to finish 5-5 for third place.
They went 3-2 in the first round and ended up 2-3 in the final half.
Above them were district champion Bonham 10-0 and Community 7-3.
Melissa and Anna tied for the fourth spot at 4-6, and Quinlan Ford ended up 10-0.
One week ago, Princeton (7-8 overall, as of May 4) avoided a play-in game with a 7-6 win over Community on Senior Night.
“It was a great win that clinched a playoff spot for us,” head coach Russell Bowker said. “After trailing 4-0 after the top of the first (inning), the kids continued to battle.”
Honored before the final home matchups were Karter Barnfield, Jeff Ray, Tylor Ford and Kyle Petersen.
Community went up 4-0 after the top of the third and Princeton cut the lead to one run in the bottom half.
Nathan Roets scored on a wild pitch, with Brandon Talley and Peterson coming home off errors.
The Panthers tied the game at 4-4 on another score from Talley on of the Braves eight errors.
After giving up a run in the top of the fourth, Princeton countered with a three spot in the bottom half.
Graham Godwin drove in Preston Cook and Ford on a single, and Cody Walker scored what would end up being the game-winning run on an error.
They finished with two hits and the Braves totaled nine over seven innings.
Later this week, Princeton will open the bi-district round against either Dallas Pinkston or Carrollton Ranchview.
“Our goal was to make the playoffs and we were able to achieve that,” Bowker said.
The latter two teams were tied for second in 11-4A.
(Full details will be posted on The Princeton Herald Facebook and Twitter pages once finalized.)
Other teams from 12-4A seeing playoff action in the opening round are Bonham versus Dallas Lincoln (fourth from 11-4A), Melissa or Anna against Pinkston or Ranchview, and Community faces Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins (third from 11-4A).
Princeton’s junior varsity maroon team closed out the season with a 6-4 loss to visiting Community.