The St. Francis Silverbacks faced a double dose of impressive pitching from area Town Ball teams last week.

The Rum River Bandits beat St. Francis 1-0 on Thursday, July 8, behind starting pitcher Mitch Ziebarth, who allowed just seven singles while striking out nine over seven shutout innings to claim the victory. Josh Stoll earned a save thanks to two hitless innings of relief that included three strikeouts.

Rum River scored the game’s only run in the eighth when Kevin Auth doubled home Shawn Motl.

The next evening the Silverbacks again were on the wrong end of a 1-0 score to the North Branch Nighthawks. In that contest North Branch’s Jimmy Skroch allowed just four hits and fanned 15 to claim the victory.

The Nighthawks began the week with an 8-3 loss to the Quamba Cubs.

While last week began with a rainout for the Isanti Redbirds, who lost their home contest against East Bethel on Tuesday, July 6, the Redbirds bounced back to claim three victories over the rest of the week.

Isanti scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Hinckley 4-3 on Wednesday, July 7. Jeff Bowman and Nick Hoffman each had a pair of hits in that victory.

Two nights later the Redbirds beat Quamba 7-4 as Phil Bray struck out 13 in seven strong innings of work. Matt Duong went 3-for-3 and had two RBIs, while Joe Tuholsky and Hoffman also had two hits.

The Redbirds finished their week with a 20-2 laugher at Mora on Sunday, July 11. Wyatt Soderquist had a three-run homer and a two-run shot as part of an 11-run first-inning uprising for Isanti, and that was more than enough offense as Logan Kalis allowed just four hits while collecting seven whiffs in a five-inning complete game.

The Braham Snappers began the week on a high note, claiming a 5-3 victory at Mora on Saturday, July 10. Ben Fiedler slammed a two-run homer in that victory, one of his two hits in the contest, while Jesse Johnson finished with three hits.

Johnson pitched the first six innings and earned the victory, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out four, while Kohl Horsch fanned five over the final three frames to collect the save.

But Sunday proved to be a disaster for the Snappers, who lost at Hibbing twice by scores of 17-2 and 10-0.

In the first game, Braham scored twice in the top of the first, only to be buried by a 16-run avalanche in the bottom of that frame. Jacob Johnson and Jesse Johnson each had a hit and an RBI for the Snappers in the first game.

The nightcap was scoreless until the fourth, when the Miners scored four times, then added two runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth to run-rule the Snappers, who were no-hit by three Hibbing pitchers.

This week will be a busy one for all four teams.

North Branch will play three games in three days, starting with a contest at Ramsey on Friday, July 16. The following afternoon the Nighthawks will host Braham starting at 1 p.m., and on Sunday, July 18, North Branch will host Nowthen in a 1 p.m. contest.

Braham played at Princeton on Wednesday, July 14, in a contest that was not completed at press time. That is the first of four games in five days for the Snappers, who will compete at Chisago Lakes on Friday, July 16, before taking on North Branch the next day and finishing the weekend at Rum River on Sunday in a noon start.

The Sunday game against Braham is one of four games in six days for the Bandits, whose contests at Quamba on Tuesday, July 13, and against Andover the following evening were not completed at press time. Rum River will play at Mora on Saturday, July 17, in a 2 p.m. game before hosting Braham at Larson Field.

But the Redbirds have arguably the most ambitious schedule of the four teams, as they play six games in eight days. Contests against Chisago Lakes on Monday, July 12, and Wednesday, July 14, were not completed at press time.

Isanti plays at St. Francis on Friday, July 16, then returns home two days later to host East Bethel in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. The following evening the Redbirds play at Andover in a non-league contest starting at 7:30 p.m.

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