Chisago Lakes 11, North Branch 4 Trailing 3-2 to the Vikings, the Wildcats exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the third inning and went on to beat the Vikings 11-4 Due to field conditions and a couple of other factors, the game was played at Princeton on Tuesday, April 9.
In the first, Clint Mattson drew a leadoff walk, but CL was able to get the next 3 batters to end the inning. North Branch had sophomore left-handed pitcher Ben Huth on the mound to start another chilly April game. The Wildcats also had the first man reach, but Huth worked around it as he also retired the next three batters.
For the Wildcats, Mason Molde singled with two on and two out to drive in two runs and put the Wildcats up 2-0 in the bottom of the second. The Vikings answered with three of their own in the top of the third. With two outs and the bases loaded, Justin Axberg walked to drive in the first Viking run. The next batter, Ashton Labelle, singled up the middle to drive in two more runs and the Vikings were up 3-2.
In the bottom of the third, Owen Dresel singled to left to drive in one run, After Logan Bjorkman and Dresel pulled off a double steal, it put runners on second and third. Zach Mueller singled sharply to right to drive in both runners and put the Wildcats up 5-3. Mueller scored on a bunt by Tommy Dubbs. Molde doubled to drive in the sixth run of the inning and Braden Wilkinson later scored on an overthrow by the catcher to give the Wildcats 9-3 lead after three innings.
North Branch’s Shey Stepp came in relief and after hitting a batter induced flyball out to Zach Gazda at first base and doubled off the runner as he tossed back to Jordan Axberg for the double play.
In the 6th inning, after one out, Gazda reached base by HBP. He moved to scoring position on another Jordan Axberg walk. Gazda then scored on a Mattson double. According to most recent recordbooks, this was Mattson’s 65th career hit, tying him with Brett Klun for North Branch’s All-Time career hits.
The Wildcats added a couple of runs later and the Vikings added one more, making the final score Chisago Lakes 11, North Branch 4.
Wildcat Seth Thompson pitched two innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win. He allowed two hits, struck out one and didn’t walk anybody. Nathan Vangstad started, was relieved by Thompson in the top of the third. Connor Bleymeyer pitched an inning and a third and Nathan Wasko pitched the seventh. One of the keys to the Wildcat win is the fact that, after the third inning, they walked just one batter. Sophomore Ben Huth started for the Vikings and gave up nine runs (seven earned) in 2.2 innings to take the loss.