April 19, 2012 at 8:34 a.m.

Vikes drop two close games, shut out Fridley

Vikes drop two close games, shut out Fridley
Vikes drop two close games, shut out Fridley

The softball double dipper is never easy. After shutting out the Fridley Tigers in the first half of a double-header last week and invoking the mercy rule, the North Branch girls softball team oddly dropped the second game of the tilt. In the first contest, North Branch opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when Emily Trunk led off with a bunt single. She stole second and moved to third on a single by Mikayla Carlson.

Trunk scored when Jen Huth hit into a fielders choice at third base. In the second inning, Erin Kvam led off the frame with a single and pinch runner Syd Meath swiped second base. Meath scored on a single by Syd Mueller. Mueller then moved up to third on a Fridley miscue and scored on a passed ball, making the game 3-0 in favor of NB. In the fourth inning, Kvam and Mueller reached base and worked their way around the bases with some small ball behind them, making it 5-0. In the fifth, the floodgates opened as the Lady Vikings hit six straight singles, plating five runs and ending the first game early.

Trunk, Kallie Grote, Huth and Mueller all had two RBIs while Mueller was three-for-three at the plate and Kvam was two-for-two. Trunk also was dazzling as the starting pitcher. The junior threw her first career no-hitter, going all five innings in the shutout win. She walked two Tiger batters in the first inning, but didn’t allow a single runner after that. “Emily pitched a great game and her defense gave her great support playing error free,” her father and coach Ron Trunk said after the contest. “Chelsey Emery-Snaza had four assists and Kari Berggren had three. Syd Meath made a good catch on a hard hit ball to left field to lead off the fourth, also. In the second game, it was the definition of a pitchers duel early. Despite a few scattered hits here and there, Huth and the Fridley starter were on their game.

But, the Tigers eventually struck first. They opened the scoring in the fourth inning, plating three runs on four hits and a sacrifice. The Vikings added their first run in the bottom half of that inning. Berggren scored when she hit a single that was followed by a Mueller single and a Fridley error. In the fifth inning North Branch knotted the game at three. Mikayla Carlson reached on an error and came all the way around to score when her sister Alley Carlson belted a triple deep. Alley, the elder sibling, scored on a Berggren single.

The score remain tied despite some offensive threats from North Branch in the sixth and seventh inning. In both cases, some phenomenal defensive plays by Fridley ended the rallies and kept the game tied. In the ninth, Kvam, who had relieved Huth in the fifth inning, walked a Fridley hitter with two outs. The fairly innocuous at-bat turned disastrous when the next hitter laced a triple to the outfield and scored the runner, making it 4-3 in favor of Fridley. North Branch went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth inning, losing the hard-luck game 4-3. “We had good chances to win this game in both 6th and 7th innings, but great plays by their defense ended that,” Trunk said after the marathon doubleheader. “Erin did a nice job throwing her first innings of the year coming in to relieve Jen in the fifth. I thought our defense played really well today only making two errors in 14 innings.” Kvam took the loss despite going five innings and only allowing two hits. Hermantown 7, North Branch 6

The Vikings hosted northern nemesis Hermantown over the weekend and lost an absolute heartbreaker to the Hawks in the latter stages of the game. The Vikings began to build a lead early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first on hits by Trunk, Alley Carlson, walks by Huth and Kvam and some Hermantown errors. Hermantown showed their resolve early, getting those three runs back in the top of the second inning. Four hits and a wild pitch led to a tie game for the two non-conference squads. It didn’t stay tied long. In the bottom half of the second frame, North Branch scored three runs when Trunk and the Carlson sisters belted three straight doubles. Emery-Snaza bookended that streak with a single to score Alley Carlson and make it 6-3. In the fourth Hermantown slowly began their comeback. Kvam got a bit wild on the mound, walking three batters and allowing a single, trimming the NB lead to 6-4. With the bases loaded and only one out, Kvam and the defense worked their way out of potential danger when Grote fielded a ball at second, tagged the advancing runner and flipped the ball to first base, completing the 4-3 double play.

But, that only delated the inevitable. Hermantown scored three times in the sixth inning on two hits, a walk, a sacrifice and the one North Branch error on the day. The Viking bats went down quietly in the sixth and seventh and Hermantown escaped with the victory. “I thought we competed well today against a school with an excellent softball tradition,” Ron Trunk said. “I thought our defense played well in support of our pitcher, and that's three games in a row of solid defense.” On the offensive side of the ball, Emily Trunk went three-for-four with two runs, Alley Carlson went two-for-two with two runs scored and three RBIs and Berggren and Emery-Snaza each added an RBI. Kvam took the loss for North Branch, going all seven innings and giving up seven runs -- six of them earned -- on 12 hits. She had two strikeouts and five base-on-balls in the tough outing.


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