May 17, 2007 at 11:32 a.m.
In the top of the first, Maggie Johnson singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored the game's first run on Megan Ranger's double. In the second, Steph Saxe and Megan Aho reached on errors and Alyssa Peterson was hit by a pitch. All three scored on Johnson's two-out double, making it 4-0.
With one out in the third, Megan Scherer stroked the first of six consecutive Viking hits. Peterson, Aho, Johnson, Ranger and Dani Sonnenfeld's hits followed Scherer's. One out later, Tiffany Good walked, Saxe singled and Scherer collected her second hit of the inning. The result was a 12-0 Viking lead.
The Orioles scored their only runs in the bottom of the fourth as the Vikings wrapped up a 12-2 conference win. Saxe pitched all five innings to get the win, giving up four hits, striking out two and walking three.
Johnson went three for four and had three RBI's to lead the offense. Ranger, Sonnenfeld and Scherer had two hits each in the 13 hit, no error performance by the Vikings.
"We played well in sloppy weather. It was a game we needed to win against a team that has been struggling to compete against other NSC teams," said Viking head coach Ron Trunk.
Sauk Rapids-Rice Invitational
The Vikings took second in the tournament by beating Sartell 13-2 and Mesabi-East 7-4 before bowing to Champlin Park 8-4 in the championship game Saturday, May 5.
North Branch 13, Sartell 2
From the start, the Vikings had their hitting shoes laced up. In the first, Megan Aho reached on an error, Megan Ranger and Dani Sonnenfeld singled to load the bases. With two out, Steph Saxe hit a grand slam to give the Vikings a 4-0 lead.
Singles by Tiffany Good, Aho, Maggie Johnson, Ranger, Saxe, and a double by Sonnenfeld, combined with a Sartell error netted five more runs in the second.
Sartell closed the gap to 9-2 in the third. It remained that way until the top of the sixth. Johnson singled, Ranger tripled, Sartell committed an error and Saxe and Elise Holmstrom singled giving the Vikings four more runs and the 13-2 win.
Good pitched the first five innings, giving up one earned run on six hits while striking out four and walking two to get the win.
"It was really exciting to see us come alive offensively in this game," coach Trunk said. "Eight of our nine starters collected hits in this game. We had season highs in hits (15) and runs (13)."
North Branch 7, Mesabi-East 4
The Vikings fell behind 2-0 and were shut out until the top of the fourth. In the fourth, the Vikings' Steph Saxe got a two-out walk, Elise Holmstrom singled and Tiffany Good walked to load the bases. Alyssa Peterson slapped a single up the middle to score Saxe and Holmstrom, tying the game.
In the fifth, Maggie Johnson singled to get things started. Megan Ranger's triple scored Johnson. Ranger scored on Dani Sonnenfeld's bunt single before Saxe's second round-tripper of the day gave the Vikes a 6-2 lead.
After East scored it's final run in the bottom of the fifth, the Vikings scored their last run on a Ranger double followed by a Sonnenfeld single. The Giants scored in the bottom of the seventh to make the final 7-4 in favor of North Branch.
Saxe pitched the first four and one third to get the win and Good finished on the mound to pick up the save.
"It was nice to see us come back after being down by two runs early. Tiff did a nice job of getting us out of a jam in the fifth and finishing the game. We stayed composed while playing in periods of rain and two rain delays," the coach said.
Champlin Park 8, NB 4
North Branch gave up three runs in the first and third innings against Park. They closed the gap to 6-2 in the bottom of the third. Maggie Johnson and Megan Ranger, on base with singles, came home on Steph Saxe's double.
The rest of the scoring came in the sixth. Champlin Park scored two in the top of the inning and the Vikings matched that in their half of the sixth. The Vikings were patient at the plate and the Park pitcher issued three walks. Kayla Obitz and Saxe scored when Alyssa Peterson singled, making the final 8-4.
In the tournament, Saxe was 5 for 9 with two homers, a double, 9 RBI's and two walks. Ranger was 7 for 12 with a triple, a double and 3 RBI's. Sonnenfeld was 5 for 11 with a double and 4 RBI's. Johnson was 6 for 12 with a triple, three runs scored and an RBI.
"It was a good tournament for us," Trunk said. "I hope we can use it as a springboard going into our last five NSC games. We are 6-2 in our last eight games. It would be nice to carry that momentum into the post season."
Benilde 3, North Branch 1
At Benilde, Monday May 7, the Red Knights won a real pitchers' duel. Neither North Branch hurler Steph Saxe nor BSM's Brittany Stuwart allowed a runner past second through the first three innings.
In the fourth Dani Sonnenfeld led off with a single. With one out, Sonnenfeld moved to third on Saxe's ground rule double down the third base line. Sonnenfeld scored on a grounder to first, making the score 1-0 for the Vikings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Benilde scored all three of its runs. The Hawks used a walk, an error, three singles and a double to plate three runners.
After the next inning, the game was cut short when mother nature provided a downpour. The field was flooded and the game was called after six.
"This was a great ballgame against the conference leading Red Knights," said Viking head coach Ron Trunk. "Steph probably pitched her best game of the year, holding BSM to just six hits."
Vikings 8, Columbia Heights 3
Wednesday, May 9
At North Branch, the Hylanders scored two runs in the top of the first. The Vikings got one back in their half of the inning. Megan Aho reached on a single, moved to second on Maggie Johnson's groundout and scored on Megan Ranger's single.
Heights went up 3-1 in the top of the third. In the Vikings' half of the inning, Alyssa Peterson led off with a bunt single. She stole second and scored on Aho's base hit. NB's chance to put a crooked number on the board was stopped when the Hylander centerfielder made an outstanding diving catch and doubled up Aho at second.
The score remained 3-2 through the fifth when Viking rallies in the the fourth and fifth were cut short by line-out, force-out double plays.
In the bottom of the sixth, the home team scored six times to put the game away. Saxe led off with a walk, Kayla Obitz reached on an error and Elise Holmstrom loaded the bases with an infield hit. The first run scored when Tiffany Good grounded to shortstop. The shortstop's throw home was not in time to keep Saxe from scoring. After a force out at home, Aho singled to score two and give the Vikings a 5-3 lead. Singles by Ranger and Saxe and a CH error provided the final three runs.
Good pitched the complete-game win for the Vikes, striking out four, walking two and giving up five hits. Aho went 3 for 4 at the plate with 3 RBI's and Ranger was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI's.
"The first inning was a little shaky for us. Tiff struggled with her control, walking two of the first four batters," Trunk said, "We had a chance to get out of the inning unscathed with a 1-2-3 double play, but we dropped the ball at first.
"We had chances to break the game open in the third, fourth and fifth, but we kept hitting into those double plays. The girls kept at it and it paid off in the sixth," the coach added.