By Victoria Dahlin—
In the first round of section play the No. 10 section seeded North Branch softball team defeated No. 7 seed Grand Rapids in shutout fashion.
But it was a shutout that also ended the Vikings’ season when the girls played No. 2 seed Duluth Denfield in the Section 7AAA quarterfinals.
On May 22 the Vikings faced the Thunderhawks and opened the scoring in the top of the first when Alley Carlson and Kari Berggren reached on walks and Carlson scored on a ground ball off the bat of Chelsey Emery-Snaza.
The road team made it 2-0 in the fifth on a single by Emily Trunk followed by a RBI double by Mikayla Carlson.
North Branch added two more runs in the sixth when Sydney Meuller reached on an error and scored on an RBI double by Kallie Grote. Kaylee Lofboom reached on an error moving Grote to third, who then scored on a double steal in the first and third situation.
The Vikings added their final run in the seventh when Berggren doubled and pinch runner Claire Peltier scored on a Meuller single, giving North Branch a 5-0 victory.
Freshmen Katy Trunk earned the shutout win going all seven innings. She gave up just three hits, walked three and struck out five.
North Branch had five runs, seven hits and no errors, while Grand Rapids had no runs, three hits and four errors.
“Katy really pitched well only allowing four balls out of the infield all game, and her defense played error free behind her,” said Coach Ron Trunk.
Hunters too tough
Heading north again, the team on May 25 took on the Duluth Denfeld Hunters who opened the scoring in the bottom of the third.
The Vikings threatened in the fifth by loading the bases on three straight singles by Hannah Hubbard, Grote and Lofboom. But the rally ended quickly on an infield fly and a strike out.
In the sixth, North Branch again threatened to even the score when A. Carlson led off with a single, advanced to second on a Berggren bunt and reached third on a ground out by Emery-Snaza. When Meuller followed with a promising drag bunt, however, A. Carlson was called out on a close play at the plate.
The Hunters busted the game open in the bottom half of the inning when its first two runners reached on walks, followed by a run-scoring double and a three-run homerun. The Vikings’ season ended with the 5-0 loss.
K. Trunk took the loss going all six innings. She gave up just four hits, walked three and struck out three.
North Branch had no runs, seven hits and two errors, while Duluth Denfeld had five runs, four hits and no errors.
“I’m really proud of how our team battled against the #2 seeded Hunters,” said Coach Trunk. “We went toe to toe with them for 5 ½ innings before there big hitters got to us. The loss not only ends our season but end the careers for our four seniors. Jeni Huth led us in innings pitched at 45 1/3 and had a 4.48 ERA (earned run average). She is a three time letter winner for us. Second basemen Kallie Grote is also a three time letter winner and finished the season with a .292 BA (batting average), drove in 10 runs and scored 12. Shortstop Chelsea Emery-Snazzy was a four time letter winner with a .297 BA, she drove in 14 runs and scored 15 times this year. First baseman Alley Carlson has been a starter since eighth grade earning five letters. She led team in BA at .414, tied for first in runs scored 21 and was second on the team in RBI’s with 16. We will miss them dearly next season.”
The North Branch softball team ended the 2012 season with a 10-11 overall record.