May 26, 2011 at 9:26 a.m.
In North Branch's season finale, they were blanked by section opponent Forest Lake 11-0.
The ninth-ranked Rangers were 11-5 heading into the game, compared to 6-12 for the Vikings. North Branch kept it close early. Although they couldn't get any hits off of Forest Lake starter Micah McGuiness, their pitching and defense was doing well.
The Rangers were held scoreless in the first inning, and then manufactured a run in the second with some small ball and a few untimely mistakes by North Branch. An error allowed a Ranger runner to reach second base, and then she stole third and came home on a wild pitch.
In the fourth, Forest Lake got all the insurance they would need. Three hits, a walk, a sacrfice bunt and a North Branch error led to four Forest Lake runs and a 5-0 deficit for North Branch.
The Rangers sealed the game in the fifth inning when they scored five runs. They had four hits, drew three walks and North Branch committed another error.
The game was eventually called because of the 10-run rule. On offense, North Branch only mustered two baserunners, and they were both on walks. McGuiness threw the brief five-inning no hitter.
"It was just an all around tough day for us," Head Coach Ron Trunk said of his team's season finale. "We just need to put this one behind us and look forward to our first round of sections."
The Vikings drew the Anoka Tornadoes in the first round, and the two teams matched up on Tuesday night, after the County Press went to print.
The Tornadoes are 5-9 on the season, but can be dangerous. They beat Maple Grove earlier this year, who is ranked seventh in the state.
If North Branch, which is the 10th seed in the match up, wins, they will play on Thursday at 4:30 in Cambridge-Isanti against the second-seeded Bluejackets. If they lose, their season is over as sections are no longer double elimination until the final four teams are determined.