The North Branch softball team was victorious two out of three times it faced conference opponents last week.
On April 29 the team hosted and battled it out with the Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights, which had a 7-0 lead after the first two innings.
The Vikings plated four runs in the third when Casey Hovland led off with a single and eventually scored thanks to singles by Emily Trunk and Sydney Mueller. Kari Berggren reached on an error, enabling Mueller to cross home plate.
A speed ball advanced Berggren to second, and a single by Kaylee Lofboom scored pinch runner Claire Peltier.
In the end, Benilde-St. Margaret’s added three more runs to take home an 11-4 win.
Despite going to the distance, pitcher Lofboom took the loss for the Vikings. She gave up 11 runs (four earned) on 12 hits, walked two and struck out two.
“We really did not give ourselves a chance by playing poor defense today,” said coach Ron Trunk. “We will need to support our pitchers better in order to compete. Casey Hovland had a good game for us going one for two with a walk, scoring a run and ending the seventh inning with a highlight diving catch in right field.”
Vikings vs. Fridley
Against Fridley on April 30, North Branch opened the scoring with four runs in the top of the first when E. Trunk reached with a lead off single.
Meuller went to second and moved Trunk to third when her sac bunt was thrown into right field.
A single by Mikayla Carlson scored E. Trunk and moved Meuller to third with Carlson advancing to second on the throw home.
Mueller scored on a ground out by Berggren, which moved Carlson to third.
After a walk by Erin Kvam, a ground out by Lofboom scored Carlson and advanced pinch runner Meath to second who scored on a single by Megan Carlson.
Megan Carlson and Katy Trunk led off the fourth inning with singles.
After a sac bunt by Hovland moved Carlson and K. Trunk up, a single by E. Trunk scored them both giving the Vikings the 6-0 shutout win.
E. Trunk pitched the complete game one hitter. She walked two and struck out seven. The Viking defense played error free behind her only allowing three Tiger batters to reach base.
North Branch had six runs, 10 hits and no errors, while Fridley had no runs, one hits and two errors.
“This was a nice bounce back game after a poor defensive effort Monday,” said Trunk. “Our pitcher was able to throw a lot of first pitch strikes and work ahead in the count. The defense was real solid, and we were able to get off the field quick.”
Last Thursday the team hosted St. Francis in its last game of the week and handed the Fighting Saints their first conference loss of the season.
With St. Francis opening the scoring in the top of the second, North Branch responded later that inning when Kelsey Laffin reached on a single and moved to second when a bunt by Megan Carlson was mishandled putting her on first.
After a ground ball by K. Trunk forced out Laffin at third a single by E. Trunk scored Carlson and advanced K. Trunk to third.
After E. Trunk stole second, both Trunk girls scored on an error by St. Francis on a ball put in play by Casey Hovland.
North Branch added three more in the third to make it 6-2 when Mikayla Carlson led off with a single. Mikayla Carlson made it to third on a throwing error by St. Francis on a ball put in play by Berggren who reached second on the play.
After Kvam loaded the bases on a fielder choice bunt Lofboom singled to score Mikayla Carlson.
A sacrifice fly by Laffin scored Berggren, and a single by Megan Carlson scored Lofboom.
In the top of the fourth St. Francis scored three times to narrow its deficit to 6-4.
North Branch added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth when K. Trunk and E. Trunk started the inning with singles.
Hovland reached on an error to load the bases, but was doubled off first when Mikayla Carlson’s soft liner was caught just before hitting the ground.
A big, two out two run single scored both the Trunks to end the scoring.
Lofboom got the win for the Vikings, her second of the season, going all seven innings. She gave up four runs (one earned) on eight hits while walking two and striking out one.
North Branch had eight runs, 10 hits and four errors, while St. Francis had four runs, eight hits and five errors.
“This was a nice win for us,” said R. Trunk. “SF had beaten all three of the conference teams we have lost to (Chisago Lakes, Spring Lake Park and Benilde-St. Margaret’s) this season. Kaylee really battled hard today. When she did get behind in the count she was able to throw quality pitches and not give up big hits. Both teams’ defense was a little sloppy, but we did a better job of capitalizing on their mistakes. We made great contact today getting 10 hits and hitting a few other balls hard!”
The North Branch softball team has a 3-3 North Suburban Conference and 4-4 overall record.