The rescheduling of postponed softball games left the North Branch team with a strange schedule this past week, which included games against two different opponents on the same day.
On May 6 the Vikings faced host Robbinsdale Cooper and were shutout 1-0 in a pitcher’s duel.
North Branch was able to collect seven singles, two by Kaylee Lofboom and one each from Emily Trunk, Sydney Meuller, Erin Kvam, Megan Carlson and Katy Trunk.
E. Trunk pitched all six innings giving up the one run on four hits; she walked two and struck out three.
North Branch had no runs, seven hits and one error, while Robbinsdale Cooper had one run, four hits and no errors.
“We were not able to get a hit in the few chances we had with runners in scoring position (0 for 6),” coach Ron Trunk said. “The Hawks pitcher did a good job of changing speeds and had good movement on her pitches. We had a solid day in the field.”
On May 8, the Vikings traveled to Totino-Grace and brought home a 3-2 victory.
The Vikings scored when Mikayla Carlson reached on an error by the Eagles. She advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Meuller and scored on a single by Keri Berggren.
North Branch made it 2-0 when E. Trunk led off with a single, advanced on a sac bunt by Mikayla Carlson and scored on a misplayed ball off the bat of Meuller.
The Vikings got an insurance run when Kvam reached on a single.
Lofboom scored all the way from first when a single off the bat of Megan Carlson got by Totino-Grace.
The Eagles rallied and scored two, but pitcher Lofboom got two big strike outs to finish the game. Lofboom went all seven innings to get the win, giving up two earned runs on six hits, walking none, while striking out two.
North Branch had three runs, six hits and one error, while Totino-Grace had two runs, six hits and four errors.
“North Branch made several outstanding plays in the field to take hits away from TG,” R. Trunk said. “The story of this game was defense. We had two great plays at third by Kari Berggren, a diving catch in left field by Syd Meath, a great catch at shortstop by Megan Carlson and solid play at second base by Syd Meuller and did the little things like hitting the cut to hold runners. Kaylee did a super job against a team that has hit the ball well.”
The team then faced Princeton and Cloquet May 10 at Princeton.
The Vikings let an early 10-3 lead get away in a 13-11 loss to the Lumberjacks.
Cloquet got three, but the Vikings exploded for 10 with singles from Casey Hovland, E. Trunk (2), Meuller, Berggren, Kvam and Megan Carlson.
The Lumberjacks got right back in tying the game 10-10.
North Branch took the lead with a single by E. Trunk, followed by a double by Mikayla Carlson. But Cloquet was able to score three times to make it a 13-11 final.
E. Trunk started for the Vikings and went three innings, while Kvam took the loss going four innings of relief.
North Branch had 11 runs, 13 hits and two errors, while Cloquet had 13 runs, 19 hits and one error.
Next up the Vikings mauled the Tigers 10-1 in a night game.
The Tigers scored first, but the Vikings tied it when Kvam reached on a walk, pinch runner Meath advanced to third on a double by Lofboom and scored on a ground out by Megan Carlson.
North Branch made it 5-1 in the third when singles by E. Trunk, Mikayla Carlson and Meuller were followed by doubles by Berggren and Lofboom.
The Vikings added a run in the fourth and two runs in both the fifth and seventh.
K. Trunk got the win going all seven innings, allowing one run on four hits, while walking one and striking out four.
North Branch had 10 runs, 12 hits and no errors, while Princeton had one run, four hits and one error.
“It was nice to bounce back in the second game after letting the first one get away,” R. Trunk commented.
North Branch hosted both Columbia Heights and Chisago Lakes last Saturday.
Kvam pitched on 14 hours rest and threw a five inning 11-1 no hitter over the Hylanders.
The Vikings fell behind 1-0 in the third, but then got five unearned runs when three Hylander errors combined with hits from E. Trunk, Meuller, Kvam and hit batter Berggren put the team ahead for good.
North Branch added six more on hits by Trunk, Mikayla Carlson and Lofboom that combined with hit batter Meuller, a walk to Berggren and some poor fielding by Columbia Heights.
Kvam struck out four and walked just one batter.
Finally the tired team faced the Wildcats and lost 11-8.
Playing their fourth game in less then 24 hours the Vikings fell behind 6-0 after two innings giving up five unearned runs.
North Branch was able to get a run when Hovland reached on an infield hit, moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced on a ground out and scored on a passed ball.
Chisago Lakes extended its lead to 9-1, but the Vikings mounted a rally when walks by E. Trunk, Mueller, Berggren and Kvam were combined with singles by Mikayla Carlson and Megan Carson and a bases loaded triple by Lofboom.
That made it 9-7 going into the last two innings, but in the end Chisago Lakes was able to add two runs, while North Branch could only manage a single run.
Lofboom took the loss for NB going all seven innings, giving up 11 runs (six earned) on 15 hits; she walked one and struck out three.
North Branch had eight runs, seven hits and three errors, while Chisago Lakes had 11 runs, 15 hits and no errors.
“We battled back in the game, but we really dug ourselves a big hole early with poor defense,” R. Trunk said. “We’re looking forward to a day off. The girls have really handled the crazy schedule quite well, but we are all (coaches and players) looking forward to a more normal schedule this week.”
The North Branch softball team is 5-5 in the North Suburban Conference and 7-7 overall.