By Victoria Dahlin—
The North Branch softball team lost to non-conference Monticello before defeating conference contender Totino-Grace last week.
The Vikings hosted the Magic with all the scoring occurring in the third inning, and Monticello winning 3-1.
With the bases juiced for Monticello, a costly North Branch error on a throw home led to two runs. Another ground ball in the infield generated the third Monticello run of the inning.
The Vikings scored their only run when Mikayla Carlson and Chelsey Emery-Snaza led off with walks. Carlson was forced out at third on a grounder by Kari Berggren. Emery-Snaza reached third when the double play attempt was wild at first base, and then was able to score when Berggren was caught in a run down on a steal attempt.
Alley Carlson and Kaylee Lofboom each got one hit, while Emery-Snaza got the only run.
Senior pitcher Jeni Huth took the loss for the Vikings. She went all seven innings giving up three runs (0 earned) on 6 hits, walking one and striking out three.
North Branch had one run, two hits and one error, while Monticello had three runs, six hits and no errors.
“Jen really pitched a great game for us,” said Coach Ron Trunk. “It was too bad we could not muster more offensive support for her. We only had one error defensively but it lead to three unearned runs in the third.”
On April 24 team hosted Totino-Grace in a game with an exciting finish.
The Eagles opened the scoring with two runs in the top of the first. The Vikings got one back in the fourth to make it 2-1 on a single by A. Carlson, a sacrifice bunt by Berggren and a run batted in single by Hannah Hubbard.
Totino scored to make it 3-1 in the fifth, but Syd Meath hit a single and was safe at second on a ball put in play by M. Carlson, after which Meath and Carlson both scored on a double by Berggren to make the score 3-3.
The score remained tied with the teams battling it out, until the bottom of the seventh inning when A. Carlson made a slide to third base on a triple and then on a sac fly, safely made the slide home on a very close play to get the 4-3 victory.
Other Vikings getting hits were M. Carlson, A. Carlson (triple and two singles) and Kallie Grote.
Emily Trunk went the distance, getting the win. She gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits, walking eight and striking out three.
North Branch had four runs, eight hits and five errors, while Totino-Grace had three runs, three hits and two errors.
“Keri Berggren had a big day for us,” said Coach Trunk. “She had a sac bunt to get our first run of the game into scoring position, the big two-out two RBI (run batted in) double to tie the game and the game winning RBI in the seventh. Emily really struggled with her control today and our defense was not nearly as solid as it has been. It is not often you can walk eight batters and have five errors in a game and still win, but our kids really kept after it!”
The North Branch softball team is at the top of the North Suburban Conference and has a 4-0 conference and 4-4 overall record. The team will host the Chisago Lakes Area Wildcats at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 2 before competing in a tournament at Sauk Rapids/Rice beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 5. The Vikings will then host the Robbinsdale Cooper Hawks at 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 7 and travel to St. Francis to face the Fighting Saints at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9.