May 21, 2004 at 11:07 a.m.
North Branch 1 (5 inn.)
“We traveled to St. Michael to take on the conference leaders and came home knowing why they are the conference leaders.”
That was Larry Brodin’s assessment of last Tuesday’s game between North Branch and St. Michael-Albertville, a game that North Branch lost 11-1 in five innings.
Despite the score, the Vikings gave the Knights a run early on. Scoreless in the third, North Branch opened the scoring with their first run of the game thanks to a Megan Ranger double. The Vikings also threatened in each of the first two innings but couldn’t advance the runners.
They needed those runs because in the bottom of the third, aided by two North Branch errors, the Knights strung together a walk, two singles, and a home run, striking for five runs in the inning, jumping in front 5-1.
The Vikings again threatened, this time in the fourth with runners at first and third with one out but the Knights ended the inning with a double play.
Still leading 5-1, St. Michael closed the door on North Branch late, scoring one in the fourth and five in the fifth to complete a 11-1 win in five innings.
On the mound, Shannon O’Hern started the game taking the loss. O’Hern pitched the first four and a third innings, allowing eight runs, but only three of those were earned. O’Hern also surrendered six hits and four walks while striking out one.
At the plate, Maggie Johnson accounted for two of the Vikings six hits. Ranger, Anna Johnson, Kassie Hoppe, and Katie Paulson picked up the other four.
The loss pushed the Vikings current losing streak to six games, dropping their overall record to 3-14.
North Branch 1 (5 innings)
North Branch 001 00 1 6
STMA 005 15 11 6
Graff 0-2, R
A. Johnson 1-3
Ranger 1-3, RBI
M. Johnson 2-2
LP: O’Hern (1-6)
4.1 IP, 8 R, 3 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, K
North Branch 3
Last Friday, the Vikings returned home, only to suffer another tough loss, this time to Princeton 8-3.
As in their previous game against St. Michael, once again, the Vikings defense struggled, committing seven errors. Of the eight runs scored by Princeton, three were earned.
The effects were felt right away as the Tigers opened up the game with one run in the first, two in the second, and one in the third, jumping out to a 4-0 lead.
Meanwhile, North Branch had a shot at cutting into that deficit in the third, but a strike out-throw out double play left the bases loaded, leaving the Vikings scoreless.
The Tigers took advantage of the momentum swing, tacking on four more runs before the Vikings could answer. Trailing 8-0 in the seventh, Dottie Graff drove in two runs with a double, followed by an RBI single by Megan Ranger. However, the comeback fell well short as the Vikings dropped their seventh game in a row, losing 8-3.
O’Hern was most victimized by the errors, allowing seven runs on the mound, but only two were earned. Nonetheless, O’Hern fell to 1-7 on the season.
Offensively, North Branch actually out-hit Princeton, banging out seven hits to the Tigers six. Graff and Ranger had two hits apiece.
Now 3-15 overall, the Vikings finish the regular season with three more games, all this week. The Vikings last game of the season is Thursday at Chisago Lakes. The section tournament begins next Thursday.
North Branch 3
Princeton 121 030 1 8 6
North Branch 000 000 3 3 7
Graff 2-3, 2 RBI
A. Johnson 1-3
Ranger 2-4, RBI
M. Johnson 0-3
Fairbanks 1-3, R
Hoppe 1-3, R
Paulson 0-1, R
LP: O’Hern (1-7)
5 IP, 7 R, 2 ER, 3 K, 3 BB