By Victoria Dahlin—
After a double header in Princeton, the Vikings softball team had a hectic last week of regular season games.
On May 11 the girls beat Cloquet 8-2 before trouncing Princeton 11-4.
Against the Lumberjacks, North Branch scored three times in the first inning on singles by Mikayla Carlson, Alley Carlson, Sydney Meuller and a double by Chelsey Emery-Snaza.
The Vikings added four more in the third on singles by A. Carlson, Emery-Snaza, Hannah Hubbard and Kaylee Lofboom. They got their final run in the seventh on singles by Kari Berggren and Emery- Snaza.
Cloquet was able to get two runs across in the seventh, but it was too little too late.
Kallie Grote smacked a single in the second inning, and Kari Berggren had six assists at third base. Freshman Katy Trunk got the win going all seven innings in her first varsity start. She gave up two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out two.
North Branch had eight runs, 11 hits and one error, while Cloquet had two runs, three hits and two errors.
Vikings vs. Princeton
Against Princeton the Vikings jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first when Emily Trunk (2), M. Carlson, Berggren, Meuller and Lofboom all hit singles. A. Carlson and M. Carlson both walked.
The score remained 6-0 until the bottom of the third when the Tigers got four unearned runs.
North Branch answered with one run in the fourth with a triple by A. Carlson and a sacrifice fly by Berggren, two more in the fifth when Hubbard reached on an error, a walk by Jeni Huth, a wild pitch and a two RBI single by E. Trunk to make it 9-4.
The Vikings added a run in the sixth on singles by A. Carlson and Berggren and a sacrifice fly by Emery-Snaza. They scored last in the seventh on a walk by Huth and singles by Lofboom, M. Carlson and a sacrifice fly by A. Carlson.
Huth got the win for the Vikings, pitching the complete game. She walked one, struck out four and didn’t allow an earned run.
North Branch had 11 runs, 12 hits and four errors, while Princeton had four runs, seven hits and two errors.
Vikings vs. Spring Lake Park
On May 14 North Branch opened the scoring in the first inning against Spring Lake Park when M. Carlson reached on a double and scored on a single by Berggren.
The Panthers made it 1-1 in the second, but in the third the Vikings regained the lead when M. Carlson reached on a single and scored when A. Carlson doubled.
In the fourth the Panthers tied it at two and scored in the sixth to take the lead, but Emery-Snaza doubled and after a walk to Meuller and a single by Hubbard, the bases were loaded. A sacrifice fly by Grote scored pinch runner Sydney Meath from third.
The Panthers scored three times in the top of the eighth to win the game 6-3.
Other batters collecting hits included E. Trunk, Hubbard and Mueller .
K. Trunk started for the Vikings and pitched five innings giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits and walking five batters. Huth took the loss going three innings and giving up three runs on six hits and one walk.
The Vikings had three runs, nine hits and one error, while the Panthers had six runs, 10 hits and no errors.
Vikings vs. Irondale
The team traveled to Irondale High School and lost to the Knights 10-5 on May 16.
The Vikings took an early lead in the first when E. Trunk reached on an error and advanced on a wild pitch. A bunt by M. Carlson moved her to third before she crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by A. Carlson.
North Branch made it 2-0 in the fourth when M.Carlson reached on an error, moved to second on a ground out and scored on a double by Emery-Snaza.
In the fourth the Knights scored seven times, but the Vikings were able to get three runs back in the sixth to make it 7-5 when E. Trunk and M. Carlson led off with singles and E. Trunk scoring on a double by Berggren. Carlson scored when Irondale committed an error on a ground ball off the bat of Emery- Snaza and Meath (pinch running for Berggren) scored on a sac fly by Meuller.
The Knights scored three times more to earn the 10-5 win.
Huth Started for the Vikings going four innings. She gave up seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits and one walk.
North Branch had five runs, five hits and three errors, while Irondale had 10 runs, 12 hits and three errors.
Erin Kvam pitched two innings of relief giving up three runs (two earned) on two hits, walking two and striking out one.
Vikings vs. Chisago Lakes
Last Friday North Branch opened the scoring at Chisago Lakes High School in the first when E. Trunk led off with a double and scored on a single by M. Carlson who advanced to second on the throw home. M. Carlson scored on an RBI single to left by Berggren to make it 2-0 Vikings.
The Wildcats answered right back and tied it 2-2.
In the sixth inning North Branch scored four times when Emery-Snaza doubled and was replaced by pinch runner Meath who reached third on a bunt by Mueller. After Muellr stole second Meath scored on a bunt put down by Hubbard. A walk by Grote loaded the bases. Then a ground out by Lofboom scored Mueller from third and a single by E. Trunk scored both Hubbard and Grote to make it 6-2 Vikings.
Chisago Lakes again answered scoring three times making it 6-5, and then in the seventh with a Wildcat runner on second and a hit by a Wildcat batter, the throw to first base pulled Viking first baseman A. Carlson off the base, but she was able to tag the runner. After initially being ruled safe with the runner from second coming in to score to tie the game 6-6, the umpires conferred and ruled that the tag had been made before batter reached first safely and she was called out, giving the Vikings the 6-5 victory.
K. Trunk got the win going all seven innings giving up five runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three.
The Vikings had six runs, eight hits and one error, while the Wildcats had five runs, seven hits and no errors.
“It was a great game under the lights on the stadium field at CLHS,” said Coach Ron Trunk. “The game had a little bit of every thing. Some big hitting (a home run, a triple, four doubles), some small ball (a squeeze bunt) and sacrifices and couple of young pitchers battling it out.”
The North Branch softball team ended the regular season with a 6-5 North Suburban Conference and 9-10 overall record. The #10 seeded Vikings will have faced #7 seeded Grand Rapids May 22 in the first round of section play. If the team wins it will travel to face #2 seeded Duluth Denfeld in the section quarterfinals at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24. A win there would send the team to Forest Lake High School Wednesday, May 30 with the semifinals taking place at 1 p.m. and the Section 7AAA Championship at 3 p.m.