The North Branch Vikings baseball team was finally able to get in some games between snowflakes last week.
On April 26 and 27 the team competed in the Princeton Invitational and defeated Monticello 1-0 and Cloquet 13-7, before losing to St. Francis 6-1.
In the game against Monticello Josh Benolken had one run and one hit, while Jake Pilz had one hit and one RBI. Charlie Linder, Michael Naggatz and Cody Knobbe each were good for one hit.
Earning the win was Naggatz who threw shut-out ball while striking out seven and giving up just four hits against 23 batters. Jared Axberg faced four batters and gave up one hit and struck out one.
Vikings 13 Cloquet 7
Against Cloquet, Naggatz had two runs, two hits and four RBIs, while Knobbe had three runs and two hits.
Also contributing were Ethan Fairbanks with two runs and two hits; Jordan Franklin, two hits and two RBIs; Benolken, one run and two hits; Michael Hensch, two runs; Jacob Kari, one run, one hit and one RBI; Pilz, one RBI; Jake Schmitz, one hit; and Matt Solberg and Brandon Steffensen, each with a run.
Nick Pilz faced 16 batters and allowed no runs or hits while striking out four to earn the win. Zack Sundly faced one batter and gave up three runs (two earned) and one hit. Blake Jorgenson faced 19 batters, giving up four runs (four earned), five hits and striking out four.
Versus St. Francis, Kari had one hit and batted in one runner, while Naggatz had one run and one hit.
Solberg and Schmitz each had one hit.
Kari took the loss after facing 24 batters and allowing three runs (three earned), five hits and striking out five.
Axberg faced 10 batters and allowed three unearned runs, one hit and struck out one. Tyler Dolin pitched to one batter and did not allow any runs or hits.
The Vikings then traveled and lost 13-1 to Robbinsdale Cooper April 30.
Kari had one hit and an RBI, while Benolken had one run and one hit. Rob Osowski, Fairbanks, Solberg, Naggatz and J. Pilz all had one hit each.
Charlie Lindberg took the loss after facing 20 batters, giving up nine runs (five earned), eight hits and striking out two. Sundly faced seven batters and allowed four earned runs and three hits. Dolin faced one batter and allowed no runs or hits.
Commented North Branch coach Steve Christensen:
“We were really patient at the plate,” he said. “We were able to get on via walks and some errors and took advantage of extra bases, when we could. Michael Naggatz pitched very well in the win over Monticello. Jared Axberg came in to get the save.
“Defense and timely hitting got us through Cloquet. We fell down early 7-3, but we battled back with five runs in the sixth and seventh innings to stay ahead for good.
“In our losses to St. Francis and Cooper, defense and hitting stumbled a bit in both contests. All days were finally beautiful days for baseball.”
The North Branch baseball team has a 0-1 North Suburban Conference and 2-2 overall record.