On a breezy and frigid afternoon, the North Branch Vikings took on the Cambridge-Isanti Bluejackets in the home opener for 2019.
Jake Richards started on the mound for the Vikings. After a long first inning, he settled into the game, completing 4 innings and yielding 5 runs on 5 hits with one walk and 2 strikeouts.
The Vikings scored once in the first and twice in the 3rd inning by way of a Brad Harrington single to score one and a Justin Axberg single to score two. Richards knocked in one run with a sacrifice fly in the 4th as the Vikings scored another to tie the game at 5-5.
Zach Gazda relieved Richards on the mound and battled through Bluejacket hitters before giving way to Scott Brett, Ben Huth, and Shey Stepp. In all, C-I scored 11 in the top of the fifth to make it 16-5.
Preparing to stay away from the 10-run mercy rule, the bats (and eyes) came alive in the 5th for the Vikings, as the scored 5 more. Three runs scored on a bases-clearing double off the bat of Richards.
In the top of the 6th, Stepp faced 5 batters to get through the inning leaving two runners on.
As darkness ensues, North Branch scores 1 more in the bottom of the 6th to make it 16-11 in favor of C-I.
At the end of the 6th, the game is called due to darkness. Since at least 5 innings had been completed, the game goes in the books as a final.
North Branch is HOME and will play it’s next opponent on Friday, April 5, 4:30 pm vs Princeton Tigers.