Rainouts early in the season kept the North Branch Nighthawks off the field until the relatively late date of May 25, but the results were worth the wait: The Nighthawks have won four of their first five games and stand atop the list of eight teams in the Eastern Minny League, South Division.
The Nighthawks won 4-3 over state tournament regulars, the Mora Blue Devils, on Saturday, May 25, then split a doubleheader with the East Bethel Bandits on Tuesday, May 28, winning 3-0 and losing 10-8. With the turn of the calendar, the Nighthawks defeated the Braham Snappers 5-0 on Saturday, June 1, and the Nowthen Knights 11-5 on Sunday, June 2.
Pitcher Jimmy Skroch has yet to give up an earned run in two victories. Matt Robinson is also 2-0. The offensive contributions have been spread among a number of players: Tony Dahlberg, Nick Solberg and Noah Wolfe lead the team with four RBIs each, while Brady Brodin, Charlie Linder and Skroch each have three.
The Nighthawks’ games have all come against league foes, so their league and overall marks are both 4-1.
The Rum River Bandits sit second in the South standings at 3-2. The Bandits went 2-1 last week, beating the Princeton Panthers 8-2 on Tuesday, May 28, losing to the Ramsey Renegades 5-4 on Friday, May 31, and then defeating the Hinckley Knights 19-5 on Saturday, June 1. In that last high-score showing, Jake Gagne knocked in five runs, while Travis Evgen (four) and Andy Julkowski (three) also had solid days.
At press time, the Isanti Redbirds had yet to play a game that counted in the league standings. They lost to the Class B Andover Aces 16-6 on Thursday, May 30, then went to Sartell-St. Stephen over the weekend, placing third in the Omann Tournament, beating St. Augusta 6-1, losing to Nisswa 9-5 and beating Buckman 12-6, running their overall mark to 4-3.
The Braham Snappers (2-2) are fifth of five in the Eastern Minny, North Division, though play in the North has hardly begun: Two of the five teams haven’t even played a single game, divisional or otherwise.
The Snappers fell to the Hinckley Knights 7-4 on Friday, May 31.