NB baseball coach recalls season finale; players awarded

After pulling off a couple of upsets in Section 7AAA play, the No. 8 section seeded North Branch baseball team had its season end when the boys lost 4-0 to No. 3 seed Grand Rapids.

Nick Pilz and Michael Naggatz each got a hit in the June 4 game at Grand Rapids. Jacob Kari faced 29 batters in pitching the entire game. He gave up four runs (two earned), five hits and struck out three.

With Grand Rapids scoring three in the first, coach Steve Christensen recalled, “We were trying to fight back; we were aggressive at the plate, but nothing seemed to fall. Our pitching and defense were good, but we couldn’t get many baserunners. Their defense was great. We had a few balls for outs that could have easily fallen for hits.

“This was quite a run,” Christensen added. “These student-athletes had an interesting season with the inside practices and a short, but packed, season of games. I’m proud of all they were able to accomplish. I hope this sets the stage for an even more competitive 2014 season.”

Awards banquet

Following the last game of the 2013 season, the North Branch baseball program held its end-of-the-year awards banquet.

While Jake Schmitz earned All-Section 7AAA for the season, Jacob Kari and Blake Jorgenson were named All-Section 7AAA in tournament play.

All-Conference honors went to Nick Pilz and Jake Schmitz, with Jacob Kari and Michael Naggatz picking up All-Conference Honorable Mention.

In addition, the Vikings were North Suburban Conference Academic Champions and achieved Team Academic Gold by the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association.

“Each and every member of this team contributed their efforts to our success,” coach Christensen said. “You might see some of the same names, but each and every one fulfilled his role within the team. Everyone wanted to play, nobody wanted to be taken out. That’s when you know your team is building its competitiveness.”

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