By Victoria Dahlin
Viking softball began the season last week with a hectic schedule of four games, resulting in a conference win and three non-conference losses.
First up, the team traveled to Cambridge April 9 and fell 9-3 to the Bluejackets.
Emily Trunk scored two runs and Kallie Grote scored one.
Crystal Emery-Snaza played well at short for the Vikings, recording seven assists, and Mikayla Carlson was solid behind the plate, picking a runner off first base on a 4-2-3 double play.
Jen Huth pitched the entire game and took the loss for the Vikings, giving up nine runs (five earned), on nine hits, striking out three, while allowing no walks.
North Branch had three runs, four hits and six errors, while Cambridge-Isanti had nine runs, nine hits and two errors.
“Before the game we asked Jen to throw strikes on a cold windy day and she did exactly what we asked, but we needed to support her better defensively and with the bats,” said Coach Ron Trunk. “With the first game jitters out of the way I expect we will play better defensively and score more runs.”
Mercy rule win followed by loss
Next the team hosted and split a double header versus the Fridley last Thursday, with the team shutting out the Panthers in the first, a conference game 10-0 in five innings due to the 10 run mercy rule.
Sydney Mueller and Trunk each scored a run before the Vikings scored two more times on singles by Erin Kvam and Mueller, a stolen base by Sydney Meath and a sac fly by Trunk.
The Vikings finished off the Tigers by smacking six straight singles from Emery-Snaza, Kari Berggren, Huth, Grote, Meath and Meuller.
Trunk, Grote, Huth and Mueller all had two RBIs; Mueller went three for three; Kvam went two for two; Emery-Snaza had four assists and Berggren had three.
Trunk got her first career no hitter going all five innings. She gave two first inning walks, but did not allow a runner to reach after that.
North Branch had 10 runs, 12 hits and no errors, while Fridley had 0 runs, 0 hits and three errors.
“Emily pitched a great game and her defense gave her great support playing error free,” said Coach Trunk. “Syd Meath made a good catch on a hard hit ball to left field to lead off the fourth.”
The Vikings then lost the second, a non-conference game to the Tigers 4-3.
North Branch scored on singles by Berggren and Mueller, a fielder’s choice by Emery-Snaza and were aided by a Fridley error on a ball put in play by Kvam. The Vikings made it 3-3 when M. Carlson reached on a error and scored on a triple by her sister, Alley Carlson, who then scored on a single by Berggren.
Huth started for the Vikings, pitching the first four innings. She gave up three runs on five hits, walked one and struck out one.
Kvam took the hard luck loss going the final five innings. She gave up one run one two hits, struck out four and walked four.
North Branch had three runs, seven hits and two errors, while Fridley had four runs, seven hits and one error.
“We had good chances to win this game in both sixth and seventh innings, but great plays by the Fridley defense ended both rallies,” said Coach Trunk “Erin Kvam did a nice job throwing her first innings of the year coming in to relieve Jen Huth. I thought our defense played really well today only making two errors in 14 innings of play!”
A close game ends in defeat
Finally, the team hosted and was defeated 7-6 by Hermantown last Saturday.
The Vikings scored first, getting three runs on a single by Trunk, a double by A. Carlson, walks by Huth and Kvam, and a sacrifice fly by Berggren.
The team was aided by a Hawk error on a ball hit by M. Carlson.
The Hawks tied the score at three in the top of the second, but the Vikings again open a three run lead getting three straight one-out doubles by Trunk, M. Carlson and A. Carlson and a single by Emery-Snaza.
Hermantown scored once in the fourth to make it 6-4 and completed the comeback in the sixth, scoring three times to make the final 7-6.
Trunk was three for four with two runs scored; M. Carlson went one for four with two runs scored; A. Carlson was two for two on doubles, two runs scored, and three RBI’s; Berggren recorded one RBI; Emery-Snaza went two for four with one RBI and Kaylee Lofboom was one for three.
Kvam took the loss pitching all seven innings. She gave up seven runs (six earned), on 12 hits, struck out two and walked five.
North Branch had six runs, nine hits and one error, while Hermantown had seven runs, 12 hits and one error.
“I thought we competed well today against a school with an excellent softball tradition,” said Coach Trunk. “I thought our defense played well in support of our pitcher. That’s three games in a row of solid defense.”
The NB softball team has a 1-0 North Suburban Conference and 1-3 overall record. The team will travel to Columbia Heights to face the Hylanders at 4:30 p.m. April 19 before hosting the Monticello Magic at 4:30 p.m. April 23. The Vikings will then host the Totino-Grace Eagles at 4:30 p.m. April 24.