The North Branch baseball team welcomed westerners Zimmerman and traveled north to Cloquet last week for a pair of nonconference matchups. The Vikings battered Zimmerman 11-1 on May 12 and lost to Cloquet 3-1 on May 13.
The Vikings never trailed against Zimmerman, building a 3-0 lead before the Thunder pushed their lone run home in the top of the fifth. The Vikings then scored three more in the bottom of the inning and five runs in the sixth to blow the game open.
Seniors Ryan Byrkit and Nick Fairbanks, junior Zack Pilz and sophomore Clint Mattson collected two hits each to lead the Vikings’ 11-hit effort. Byrkit and juniors Brady Brodin and Dawson Linkert each knocked two runs in.
Brodin pitched the entire game, giving up only four hits to pick up a win.
The Vikings outhit Cloquet 6-5 despite losing the contest. Senior Jared Kozar went 3-for-3. Brodin had the lone RBI. Junior Dylan Ramberg only allowed one earned run, but the Viking defense committed three errors, helping the Lumberjacks pad their scoreline.
The Vikings also lost a Mississippi 8 matchup against St. Francis, 10-5 on May 11.
Five regular players are hitting above the team batting average of .282: Mattson (.386), Fairbanks (.378), Pilz (.324), Brodin (.306) and junior Dillyn Negley (.304). Junior Aaron Robillard is the top base-stealer on the season with six steals in as many attempts.
On the mound, the ERA leaders are Ramberg (3.03) and Brodin (3.35).
The Vikings (3-11) played Princeton on May 16 and will play a game each day May 18-20 against Cambridge-Isanti, Irondale and Buffalo.