Vikings fight back winter blues with indoor softball

Last week’s winter weather did not stop the North Branch softball team from competing in three conference games as well as an invitational.

First up, the Vikings competed in two indoor games at Vadnais Heights Sports Center April 23. The girls defeated Fridley 10-1 before falling 11-2 to Spring Lake Park.

North Branch scored first in the top of the first when Emily Trunk reached second, after the Fridley third baseman misplayed her bunt. Trunk advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sydney Meuller.

The score remained 1-0 until the Vikings added six runs in the fourth on hits by Mikayla Carlson (two singles), Kari Berggren, Kelsey Laffin (ground rule double) and Meuller.

Kaylee Lofboom and Erin Kvam reached on fielder choices and Trunk reached on a dropped third strike.

The Vikings added three more in the top of the sixth to make it 10-0. Meagen Rollins reached on a Tiger error, Trunk and Meuller singles with walks by Berggren, Claire Peltier and Lofboom.

Fridley got its lone run in the bottom of the sixth.

Lofboom went the distance for the Vikings pitching all six innings in a game shortened by a one hour and 20 minute time restriction. She scattered five hits, struck out five and walked only two.

North Branch had 10 runs, eight hits and no errors, while Fridley had one run, five hits and three errors.

Against Spring Lake Park, North Branch again opened the scoring in the top of the first on a bunt single by Trunk who reached second on a throwing error.

A walk by Meuller and single by Carlson loaded the bases with Trunk scoring on a one out RBI single by Kvam.

The Panthers answered with two in the bottom of the first.

The Vikings tied it in the top of the second when Megan Carlson led off with a solo home run in her first varsity at bat. Spring Lake Park added six runs in the second, one in the third and two runs in the fourth to make the final 11-2.

Kvam started and took the loss. She went two innings giving up eight runs (six earned) on nine hits, walking two and striking out one. Katy Trunk pitched two innings of relief; she gave up three runs (all earned) on four hits, walked none, struck out two and hit one.

North Branch had two runs, five hits and three errors, while Spring Lake Park had 11 runs, 13 hits and one error.

“It sure was a great feeling to be on a ball field competing, even inside, for the first time after six weeks in the gym,” coach Ron Trunk said. “We did some real nice things. Our defense was solid and error free versus Fridley. Just had one bad inning against SLP. Hope to get on our own fields this week to work a few things out.”

Vikings vs. Chisago Lakes

Last Friday the Vikings hosted the Wildcats at Chisago Lakes since the North Branch field wasn’t in playing shape.

The Vikings scored first in the top of the first when E. Trunk reached on a bunt single, stole second, advanced to third on a single by Mikayla Carlson and scored on a ground out by Berggren.

Chisago Lakes answered in the bottom half of the first getting five runs and scoring two more in the second.

The score remained 7-1 in the Wildcats’ favor until North Branch scored three times in the fourth.

With two outs Lofboom singled, then advanced on a single by Laffin and scored on a double steal putting pinch runner Meath on second. Meath scored on a double by Megan Carlson who then scored on a triple by K. Trunk.

The Vikings scored in the fifth when Casey Hovland was hit by a pitch, reached second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Kvam.

Chisago answered in the sixth scoring four times to give them a 11-5 lead.

North Branch added two runs in seventh on a leadoff walk by Hovland and a triple by Mikayla Carlson who scored on a ground out by Berggren.

K. Trunk started and took the 11-7 loss. She went three innings giving up seven runs on three hits, walked four and struck out three. Kvam pitched three innings of relief giving up four runs on five hits, walked two and struck out three.

“We really battled back after getting down 7-1 early,” R. Trunk said. “We continued to get production from the entire order, nine of the 11 girls that batted collected a one hit. We committed one error, but had chances to make other plays that would have gotten us out of innings earlier preventing runs from scoring.”

North Branch had seven runs, 11 hits and one error, while Chisago Lakes had 11 runs, eight hits and no errors.

Vikings compete in Rockford invite

The Vikings traveled to Rockford for an invitational last Saturday and split two games.

In game one, New Life scored first taking a 2-0 lead.

The Vikings were able to get out of the inning on a double play when catcher Mikayla Carlson caught a popped up bunt attempt and picked off the runner on third.

North Branch scored in the second on a lead off single by Kvam, who reached second on a sac bunt by Lofboom and scored on a single by Megan Carlson.

The Eagles scored again in the fourth handing the Vikings a 3-1 loss.

Lofboom went the distance pitching. She gave up three runs on seven hits walking two and striking out three in six innings of work.

“Kaylee really pitched well for us,” R. Trunk said. “After the first inning she was able to mix her pitches and keep a good hitting team off balanced. We thought New Life would be a challenge. They have won three Class A state titles in the last four years. We played well defensively, no errors, and just came up a little short.”

North Branch had one run, six hits and no errors, while New Life Academy had three runs, seven hits and no errors.

In game two, Rockford scored first in the top of the third.

The Vikings got one back in the bottom half of the third on a leadoff single by E. Trunk, a bunt single by Meuller, with both advancing on a wild pitch. E. Trunk scored on a ground out by Berggren.

The score remained 2-1 until the fifth when Hovland led off with a single, advanced to third on a bunt single by Meuller and throwing error by Rockford. Hovland then scored on a ground ball, with a failed attempt to get Hovland out at home leaving Meuller on third and batter Mikayla Carlson on first.

An infield single by Berggren scored Meuller and Mikayla Carlson on another Rockford throwing error with Berggren going to second.

A single by Kvam advanced Berggren to third who scored on a sac fly by Lofboom.

North Branch added two more in the sixth on singles by K. Trunk and Hovland, a walk to Meuller and a single by Berggren that plated two.

Kvam pitched the entire game earning the 7-2 win. She gave up two runs on seven hits, walked none and struck out four.

North Branch had seven runs, 13 hits and two errors, while Rockford had two runs, seven hits and two errors.

“We again had a balanced attack getting hits throughout the batting order,” R. Trunk said. “Erin pitched well and with control, allowing her defense to work behind her.”

The North Branch softball team now has a 1-2 North Suburban Conference and 2-3 overall record.

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