It was a hectic week for the North Branch softball team, which played five games in the past week.
Head coach Ron Trunk said with all of the makeup games on the schedule due to previous weather cancellations, he is doing his best to make corrections as the season progresses.
“I’m making a lot of verbal corrections,” Trunk said. “We’re trying to correct the things you can’t work on inside, like hitting cut-offs and fielding the ball cleanly in the outfield, and that’s tough.”
His squad is improving, however, and went 3-2 on the week.
The Vikings started out on Friday with a trip to St. Michael-Albertville, where they fell just short with an 8-7 loss.
North Branch had nine hits on the day compared to the Knights’ 13, but committed four errors in the field.
Leading the offense for the Vikings was sophomore Megan Carlson and junior Sydney Meath, who both went 2-3 with one RBI.
On Saturday, North Branch traveled to Sauk Rapids for three games. They faced St. Cloud Tech first, winning 6-1 and remaining errorless on defense. Senior Kaylee Lofboom was the winning pitcher and also led the offense at 3-4 with one RBI. Carlson and junior Hannah Hubbard went 2-4 while Meath went 1-2 with a walk and one RBI.
Next up for the Vikings was Sartell. North Branch had a strong offensive showing, recording 12 team hits for 10 runs. Lofboom was again the winning pitcher and gave up six hits in the 10-1 win.
Senior Mikayla Carlson went 3-4 with two RBIs to lead her squad from the plate. Hubbard went 2-3 with one RBI, while eighth-grader Amber Yoch went 2-2. Lofboom and Meath both went 1-3, with Meath earning an RBI.
In its final matchup of the day, North Branch competed against the host team, Sauk Rapids-Rice and earned a comeback win, 14-7.
The Vikings were down 6-3 but broke the scoring wide open with a run in the fifth inning. Amber Yoch started things off by reaching on error, followed by a single by Meath to put two runners on. Senior Casey Hovland reached on error, then Mikayla Carlson lined a two-run triple to bring the runners home. Four more runners would score for the Vikings that inning, contributing to a 14-7 win and bringing the day’s record to 3-0.
Freshman Britta Anderson pitched her first complete varsity game for the win and gave up no earned runs.
Junior Kelsey Laffin went 4-4 on the game with one RBI and one double, while Lofboom went 3-4 with two RBIs. Junior Paige Yoch went 3-5 with two RBIs and Mikayla Carlson went 2-6 with three RBIs and one triple. Amber Yoch went 2-4.
North Branch returned home on Monday to host Rogers, which leads the Mississippi 8 Conference at 5-0 and an overall record of 8-1.
Laffin made her first pitching appearance in five years for the Vikings and pitched five innings, but came up just short.
The Vikings were on the board first by scoring in the second inning when sophomore Jackie Bossard drew a walk. Hubbard laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Bossard into scoring position at second base, then Megan Carlson laced a base hit to right field. With a first and third situation between Bossard on third base and Carlson on first, Carlson stole second base, prompting the Rogers catcher to keep Bossard at third base. The Royal’s third basemen then tried to catch Carlson at second base, but overthrew the ball into right field, allowing Bossard to score.
But the Royals would make a comeback, recording an unearned run in the fourth inning and another in the fifth inning to take a 2-1 lead. Rogers capped the scoring and the win in the seventh inning with a leadoff home run.
North Branch is 5-5 on the season and traveled to Monticello on Tuesday. The Vikings also traveled to Cambridge-Isanti on Wednesday and hit the road again for a 4:30 p.m. matchup at St. Francis on Thursday, May 8.