April 29, 2010 at 9:41 a.m.
In both games, the overmatched Vikings were beaten by 10 or more runs, and they made plenty of mistakes at the plate, on the field and on the mound. "It was a tough week for Viking baseball," Head Coach Steve Christensen said bluntly. "Defensively, we needed to get outs. Our pitching was able to get fly balls and ground balls, but we couldn't make the plays."
Benilde-St. Margaret's 17, North Branch 6
BSM opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when they put one run up on the scoreboard. North Branch answered back in the top of the second inning with four runs of their own. The lead was very short lived, however, when the Red Knights opened up the floodgates in the bottom of the second inning. Off of four North Branch errors, the Red Knights tacked on nine runs in the inning to retake the lead at 10-4.
The BSM offense kept chugging along, but North Branch just couldn't keep up with their firepower. The Red Knights tacked on six more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. North Branch added two runs in the fifth, but BSM added one more in the bottom of the frame to send the Vikings to an 11-run defeat.
"Our pitching and lack of confidence in the field just continued to hinder our performance," Christensen said. "And Benilde hit the ball. They're a good team, but you don't like to see your players field as poorly as we did."
North Branch's star hitter on the day was Sean Graff, who went three-for-three with one run and two RBIs. Tim Katka, Tyler Zondlo and Tyler Ball collected the other three hits for North Branch.
Thomas Kinsella started the game for the Vikings, and lasted only three innings, giving up 13 runs - six earned - on 10 hits. He walked to Red Knights, and wasn't able to strike out any. Matt Peterson, Katka and Cody Schultz combined to finish off the game for North Branch.
St. Louis Park 14, North Branch 4
Although this game went the full seven innings, North Branch still was 10-runned. "St. Louis Park hammered the ball around the field with 18 hits," Christensen noted. "We're still hitting the ball too, we just aren't scoring enough runs."
St. Louis Park scored three runs in each of the first two innings, and even though North Branch scored two runs of their own, it wasn't anywhere near enough. They added two more runs in the third inning, and they only trailed by two runs. Then, things started getting ugly for North Branch. St. Louis Park added two runs in the fourth inning to stretch the lead to four, and they added two more in the fifth inning to move the lead to six.
North Branch stopped the bleeding through the sixth inning, but weren't able to score any runs to cut it close. The Orioles added four more runs to make it a 10-run game in the seventh inning.
Senior Matt Lutgen was the offensive catalyst for North Branch, going three-for-three with two RBIs. Graff went one-for-four with two runs and an RBI. Kinsella collected the other RBI on a fielder's choice. Tanner Danks and Luke LeVasseur each had multi-hit games for North Branch, collecting two hits apiece.
Ball got the start going three innings, giving up seven hits and six runs. Lutgen, Katka and Ryan Souther finished the game off. "Some guys are getting a chance to pitch and get their feet wet," Christensen said after the game. "We hope to improve in every pitching outing we have. Ryan came in in the sixth and pitched well. We'll need more performances like that from him."
Although their defense wasn't the problem in this game, Christensen gave a lot of credit to St. Louis Park for the win. "Give them a lot of credit," he said. "They were patient at the plate, and when they swung the bats, the ball found the grass."
Earlier this week, the Vikings took on Robbinsdale Cooper on Tuesday at 4:30 and today, they take on county rival Chisago Lakes at home at 4:30.