Cameron Mingo did everything he could.
The Eden Prairie senior pitcher threw a three-hit shutout in the Class 3A quarterfinals, beating Hopkins 4-0.
But Mingo is a pitcher only, and he watched from the bench as his teammates fell behind early in their semifinal matchup against Bemidji. The Eagles rallied to tie the score and send it to extra inning but eventually lost to the Lumberjacks, ending their season.
"I think I'm a pretty strong competitor, so it's hard to sit and watch your team lose," Mingo said. "It's definitely tougher sitting on the bench and not being able to help out."
Mingo talked with staff writer Jim Paulsen about the recently completed high school season and his future in the Ivy League, pitching for Princeton.
Q You had things going your way against Hopkins in the quarterfinals.
A It went really well. I felt really good on the mound. I was comfortable with my fastball, I got ahead with my curve a lot and my cutter was working well. I got a lot of ground balls and my defense played great.
Q You'd pitched against Hopkins before. Was that an advantage for you or for them?
A Probably a little more for them. But when I saw them before, it was early and I didn't have my best stuff. I was very different this time.
Q It's always tough to lose in the state tournament, but how do you feel about the season as a whole?
A Overall, it was a really good year. We only had one position player back from last year and two pitchers with much experience, so I don't think anybody expected that much out of us.
Q You pitched for a team that won the American Legion World Series last summer. What was that like?
A That was so cool. We felt going into last summer that no team in the state had the depth or overall talent we had. Next year, there will be eight players on that team who are playing Division-I college ball. It was the type of team where, when I went out to pitch, I knew that anything hit near anyone was going to be an out.
Q Whether it's American Legion or high school ball, Eden Prairie is always good. Why?
A I think it all starts with Coach [Mike] Halloran. He's done such a good job connecting with the youth leagues. You get familiar with how they do things. By the time you get there, you're very familiar with the style of ball they play.
Q Next up for you is Princeton. That's a pretty historic place. Albert Einstein taught there. Are you amazed that you'll be there in a few months?
A I wouldn't say I'm intimidated, but I'm excited by the opportunity. In recruiting, I was focused on academics first and Princeton was just the right size and right setting. And, of course, the academics are great.
Q You will be playing baseball too, right?
A I'll definitely be pitching there. They lost one of their top pitchers from last year, so I'm hoping to pick up some of those innings.
Q Got a major picked out?
A I'm planning on majoring in economics with a concentration on finance or poli sci.
Q Planning on a career in public service, perhaps? Will there be a Governor or Senator Mingo in the future?
A [Laughs] I'm not sure. Maybe somewhere down the road, but not right away.