By Victoria Dahlin
North Branch softball competed in a tournament May 5 at Sauk Rapids-Rice and then fell to Robbinsdale Cooper and St. Francis last week.
The team first faced Rogers in the tournament with the Royals opening the scoring with a run in the first.
The Vikings tied it 1-1 in the third when Emily Trunk led off with a double and scored on a single by Alley Carlson.
Rogers then made it 3-1 in the fifth, an inning where Mikayla Carlson reached on a single and took second on a mishandled ball. Alley Carlson collected her second RBI single with a base hit, scoring her sister from second.
The game ended 3-2 in Rogers’ favor.
Getting hits for the Vikings were M. Carlson (two), A. Carlson (two), Chelsey Emery-Snaza (two), Mueller and Trunk.
Trunk pitched four innings, giving up all three runs on two hits while walking five, striking out four and hitting one.
Erin Kvam threw three solid innings of relief, allowing no runs, two hits, no walks and a strike out.
North Branch had two runs, eight hits and no errors, while Rogers had three runs, four hits and on error.
Vikings vs. Virginia
In game two of the tournament the Vikings took on Virginia with the first eight North Branch batters scoring in the first inning.
Hits by Trunk and M. Carson along with walks by Mueller and Kaylee Lofboom gave North Branch an 8-0 lead until Virginia got one run in the second inning.
The Vikings answered with three runs in the second to make it 11-1 on singles by Mueller and Kvam and a double by Hubbard.
A Blue Devil run in the third made it 11-2 before North Branch got its final four runs in the bottom of the inning, from hits by Emery Snaza, Hubbard and Lofboom along with Blue Devil errors bringing in A. Carlson, Emery-Snaza, Kvam and Hubbard.
Two runs by Virginia in the fifth made the final score 15-4, as the game ended due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Kvam pitched the five-inning complete game, giving up four runs (three earned) on 10 hits and no walks or strike outs.
North Branch had 15 runs, 13 hits and one error, while Virginia had four runs, 10 hits and eight errors.
Game three with Saint Cloud Tech was canceled due to rain.
“It was nice to finish on a high note after the tough opening loss to Rogers,” said Coach Ron Trunk. “On the day we hit the ball well especially against a tough Rogers pitcher and again our defense continued to do well, only one error in two games. It is the area of most improvement from the last few seasons.”
Vikings vs. Robbinsdale Cooper
Last Monday North Branch hosted Robbinsdale Cooper with the Hawks scoring first in the fourth inning, adding one in the fifth and extending its lead to 4-0 in the sixth.
The Vikings finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth when Meuller led off with a single, reached second on a ground out by Grote and scored on a RBI by Lofboom.
The Hawks got an insurance run in the seventh to end the game 9-5.
Others getting hits were Trunk, M. Carlson, A. Carlson, Mueller (two) and Lofboom (two).
Jeniffer Huth took the loss going 5 and 2/3 innings. She gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits, walking two and striking out three.
Erin Kvam worked an inning and a third of relief giving up one run on three hits, walking one and striking out two.
North Branch had two runs, nine hits and four errors, while Robbinsdale Cooper had five runs, nine hits and one error. The Vikings stranded 13 runners with 10 in scoring position.
Vikings vs. St. Francis
On May 9 the team traveled to be shutout 10-0 by St. Francis.
The Fighting Saints were dominant from the beginning, scoring four times in the first, twice in the second and two more in each the fourth and fifth innings.
The Vikings managed to hit just three singles: Trunk in the first, Lofboom in the third and A. Carlson in the fourth.
Trunk started for the Vikings but lasted just a third of an inning while struggling with her control. She was charged with three earned runs.
Huth came in relief and pitched three and two-thirds innings giving up five runs (three earned) on 10 hits and struck out one.
Erin Kvam pitched the fifth allowing two runs on three hits.
North Branch had no runs, three hits and three errors, while St. Francis had 10 runs, 13 hits and two errors.
“Looking at the score you would assume nothing went right for us,” said Coach Trunk. “But we were two for two in (sacrifice) bunt attempts by Mikayla Carlson and Kaylee Loffboom and Kallie Grote started two double plays to help get us out of bad innings.”
The North Branch softball team has a 5-3 North Suburban Conference and 6-8 overall record. The team will travel to Irondale High School in New Brighton to face the Knights (12-3) at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, before traveling to Chisago Lakes Area High School to face the Wildcats (7-10) at 7 p.m. Friday, May 18. The Vikings will then begin subsection play at the home of the high seed at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22.