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December 16, 2018

5/4/2018 1:38:00 PM
Vikings get off to fast start before cooling down against Buffalo

With barely any outdoor practice before their first games, the North Branch baseball team wasn’t sure what to expect when they stepped on the field in their season opener against the Irondale Knights, an old North Suburban Conference foe.

That question was quickly answered when the Vikings put up five runs in the second inning and backed it up with two more in the third inning to seize a quick 7-0 lead in the game.
The Knights put together some late inning rallies, scoring two in the fifth and the seventh, with a single run sandwiched in the sixth, but the Vikings’ two-inning outburst was enough to earn them their first win of the year.

Senior Dillyn Negley was the offensive star for North Branch, knocking in six of North Branch’s seven runs with a homerun and a triple. He added a walk to end his night two-for-three. Clint Mattson added the other RBI when he walked with the bases loaded before Negley’s big hit. Dawson Linkert went two-for-four and Zack Pilz added a hit and a walk in two at bats.

Dylan Ramberg cruised through the first four innings  from the mound before running into trouble in the fifth and sixth inning. He gave way to Nick Dufeck, who gave up two runs, but nailed down the last inning, securing the 7-5 win for North Branch. Ramberg’s line ended at six innings pitched, seven hits, three runs (two earned) and four strikeouts.

North Branch 8, Big Lake 3
The Vikings jumped right into the Mississippi 8 Conference schedule with a tilt against Big Lake on Tuesday, April 24.

After Negley was a one-man wrecking crew in the opener, the whole NB lineup got in on the action against the Hornets. Negley, Mattson, Aaron Robillard, Jake Richards and Linkert all had multi-hit games. Lucas Jensen-Schneider had two RBIs on a hit and Pilz added his first RBI of the season.

Richards performed well in his first start of the year, going five and a third innings and scattering eight hits and two runs. He struck out just three but didn’t walk anybody. Dufeck finished out the last inning and two-thirds, giving up just one hit.

Buffalo 11, North Branch 3
The Vikings’ early season luck ran out against the Buffalo Bison on Thursday, April 26. Because of the condensed schedule, Head Coach Steve Christensen was already digging deeper into his rotation than he thought he would be. Junior Justin Axberg, who’s primarily a third basemen, took the bump for North Branch, and lasted just three and a third innings, giving up 10 hits, four walks and seven runs on the night.

The Viking offense couldn’t fight their way back from that deficit, as they knocked out only five hits on the night. Negley went two-for-three with a homerun, two RBIs and a run, continuing his early season tear. Mattson, Robillard and Richards were the only other Vikings with hits.

Noah Christenson went six innings for NB, giving up only one hit and one run, the solo bomb from the bat of Negley. Eathan Soeffker went two-for-two with a homerun, four RBIs and two walks for Buffalo.

The schedule gets more daunting from here on out. This week, North Branch plays four home games in five days. They hosted Hermantown Monday, St. Michael-Albertville on Tuesday, and they’ll take on Rogers Thurs.day and Duluth Denfeld Friday.

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