Early success for NB softball

Lofboom records two wins, Carlson with winning run

The Viking softball team faced Big Lake on the road on Thursday, and turned a 2-0 early deficit into a comeback win.

North Branch tied things up at two in the bottom of the third inning when seniors Mikayla Carlson and Kaylee Lofboom and junior Kelsey Laffin strung together a series of hits to score.

The Hornets took another two-run lead, 4-2,  in the fourth inning on a single, fielder’s choice and errors by the visiting team.

North Branch responded in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore Jaci Bossard earned a base on a walk, then moved to third when a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Maddie Danks caused an overthrow by a Hornet fielder. Danks was replaced by pinch runner, sophomore Korissa Franklin, who stole second to get in scoring position. Carlson came up with a crucial RBI, singling in both runners to tie the score at four apiece, then came full circle to score the winning run on an overthrow to center field at the close of the play.

Lofboom earned the win with a complete game, giving up four runs, one of which was earned, and recorded one strikeout and no walks.

Head coach Ron Trunk said he was more than pleased with the home opener.

“It was our first day out on the dirt and I thought our girls handled that real well,” Trunk said. “Kaylee pitched very well not giving up any walks and collecting 17 ground ball outs. Big Lake has had an outstanding program over the years, so this was great way to start our season.”

Laffin and Carlson led the offense with two hits each, while senior Casey Hovland and Lofboom each recorded one.

The Vikings extended the winning ways the next day against Fridley in another road game.

North Branch scored eight runs to take an 8-0 lead. Fridley would score just once in its home effort. The Vikings chalked up 12 hits, including four from Bossard. Laffin, Carlson and Lofboom each earned two hits, while juniors Paige Yoch and Hannah Hubbard contributed one apiece.

Lofboom took the win again, giving up three hits, one walk and striking out three batters. Freshman Britta Anderson made her varsity debut on the mound with two inning of relief. Anderson gave up one unearned run, one hit and two walks while striking out three.

Trunk called the win a “solid outing.”

The Vikings faced Monticello Tuesday, and next travel to Cambridge-Isanti for a Mississippi 8 matchup at 4:30 p.m.Thursday, April 17.

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