May 5, 2011 at 9:55 a.m.

Vikes finish week with dramatic win

Vikes finish week with dramatic win
Vikes finish week with dramatic win

With a few games to make up last week, the North Branch softball team had a hectic schedule of three games in five days.

North Branch 5, Columbia Heights 3

The Vikings opened the week with a victory over the Hylanders, and they earned that victory with a quick start.

They opened the game with three straight hits by Emily Trunk, MiKayla Carlson and Alley Carlson, the last of which drove in Trunk for the first run of the game.

North Branch added a run in the fourth inning on a two out triple by Angel Buzay, and a Heights error.

Although Kelci Lofboom was cruising along in the game, and two runs seemed like it'd be plenty for North Branch, they added what turned out to be three huge insurance runs in the top of seventh inning.

Lofboom helped her own cause by leading off with a walk. She proceeded to steal second base and then scored on a single by MiKayla Carlson. Carlson advanced to second on an error by Columbia Heights. Alley Carlson poked a single through the infield to score her sister from second base.

Alley Carlson ended up coming around to score on a single by Kari Berggren to put North Branch up 5-0 with Heights' down to their last three outs.

The Hylanders made the most of those three outs, scoring three times on two hits, a walk and a passed ball by North Branch, but Lofboom eventually locked them down and kept them from putting any more runs up on the board. She pitched a complete game, striking out nine Hylanders and giving up only four hits and two walks.

Both Carlson sisters and Berggren had two-hit days for North Branch and Trunk and Buzay each tallied one hit.

"We got an outstanding effort from Kelci today. She took a lot of pressure off our defense by striking out nine batters," Head Coach Ron Trunk said. "Defensively, we played solid in making only one error. On offense we left some runners in scoring position when we had several chances to open the game up."

Benilde-St. Margaret's 14, North Branch 2

After halting their losing skid at four with the victory over Heights, the Vikings were right back on the losing side of things when they played the talented Red Knight squad representing Benilde-St. Margaret's.

The Red Knights blew the game open early, getting seven runs in the first inning on three hits, four walks and a North Branch error.

The game was essentially out of reach by the third inning when BSM scored five unearned runs on one hit, three walks and two errors. It was 12-0 at that point.

North Branch broke up the shut out in the bottom of the third when Trunk and Alley Carlson walked, followed by a MiKayla Carlson single. Trunk eventually came home on a wild pitch by the BSM hurler.

Needing at least four runs to extend the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, North Branch only managed one run after a MiKayla Carlson walk, steal and RBI single by Berggren.

That was one of only two hits for North Branch, the other being a double in the second inning by Buzay, who leads the team in extra base hits.

Trunk pitched, and took the loss, going only one inning and giving up seven runs. Abby Schraufnagel pitched four innings of relief, giving up seven runs -- zero of which were earned -- on four hits and three walks.

"Abby came in threw well in miserable conditions but we needed to support her better with our defense," Coach Trunk said. "Our bats continue to make consistent contact, but we had several well hit balls not fall in for us."

The Red Knights scored 14 runs on only seven hits. The key was four huge errors and a handful of walks for North Branch.

North Branch 8, Robbinsdale Cooper 7

The Vikings ended their week with a dramatic walk off win at home to finish 2-1 on the week.

The Vikings struck first in the opening inning with some timely two-out hitting. Alley Carlson began the rally with a single, and Berggren followed that with a base on balls. Chelsea Tollberg ripped an RBI single to the outfield, and Berggren came all the way around to score on a Cooper throwing error.

The Hawks cut the lead in half when they got an unearned run in the second inning on two singles and two NB errors. In the bottom of the second, North Branch took that run back. Buzay drew a walk, but was forced out on a fielders choice in which Chelsey Emery-Snaza reached. Emery-Snaza scored on a two-out single by Trunk when the hit got past the Cooper outfielder

The Vikings made it 5-1 in the third inning on two Cooper errors and two singles by Berggren and Kallie Grote.

Cooper got their only earned run of the game in the fourth inning when they got a leadoff double, followed by a single.

The Vikings kept Cooper at bay, however, with walks from Grote and Wishon, followed by a sacrifice bunt and RBI single by Trunk

With Lofboom seemingly cruising along in the sixth inning, the game nearly was lost for North Branch on some sloppy defense. Cooper scored five times to take a 7-6 lead on only two hits, a walk and four huge North Branch errors.

After getting out of the inning, North Branch only had one inning left to do their damage. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Sydney Meuller and Wishon drew leadoff walks to put the winning run at first. Bloop singles off the bats of Trunk and Alley Carlson, coupled with a Cooper error, allowed the winning run to come across the plate and earn the dramatic victory.

Lofboom pitched the complete game again, getting her third win of the season. She scattered 10 hits and pitched her way out of several ugly jams created by the defense.

"Kelci pitched a heck of a game for us today. She did what we have been asking our pitchers to do, throw strikes and let your defense play behind you," Coach Trunk explained. "Unfortunately, we did not support her today the way I know we can, but in the end we were able to pick ourselves up and score enough runs to win the game."

North Branch scored eight runs on nine hits and four Cooper errors. The Hawks had seven runs -- only one earned -- on 10 hits and six North Branch errors.


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