After a back and forth battle with Princeton last Friday ended in a 15-8 loss, the Vikings climbed on a bus for their first conference road game on Tuesday.
Originally slated for 4:30 at Chisago Lakes, the Vikings played a 5:30 game in Princeton versus the Wildcats. With poor field conditions at CL and the impending weather coming on Thursday, the Wildcats moved up their game from Thursday with Princeton to Tuesday at 2. The NB vs CL followed that game.
In the first, Clint Mattson drew a leadoff walk, but CL was able to get the next 3 batters to end the inning. North Branch had sophomore left-handed pitcher Ben Huth on the mound to start another chilly April game. The Wildcats also had the first man reach, but Huth worked around it as he also retired the next 3 batters.
Huth surrendered 2 runs in the 2nd via 3 CL hits, but limited the damage with 3 flyball outs.
North Branch bounced back in the 3rd to take the lead 3-2. Jordan Axberg led off the inning with a walk, followed by a line-drive out off the bat of Mattson. Huth walked, and Jake Richards singled to load the bases. Jordan Axberg then scored on a bases loaded walk by brother Justin Axberg and a 2-RBI single off the bat of Parker Johnson highlighted the scoring.
CL countered with 7 runs of their own in the 3rd, knocking Huth off the mound. Shey Stepp came in relief and after hitting a batter induced flyball out to Zach Gazda at first base and doubled off the runner as he tossed back to Jordan Axberg for the double play.
CL scored single runs in the 4th and the 5th and NB only countered with 1 in the 6th.
In the 6th inning, after one out, Gazda reached base by HBP. He moved to scoring position on another Jordan Axberg walk. Gazda then scored on a Mattson double. According to most recent recordbooks, this was Mattson’s 65th career hit, tying him with Brett Klun for North Branch’s All-Time career hits.
North Branch’s next game is scheduled for Thursday, April 11 at 4:30 in St. Francis. With the probable precipitation, the next scheduled game after that is in Rogers on April 16 at 4:30 pm.