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Itasca Baseball Game Recaps




May 11th, 2016
Written by Kody Anton


The Itasca Vikings travelled to International Falls needing to sweep the doubleheader against rival Rainy River Community College. The Vikings were looking for their eighth straight Conference Championship, however one loss could spoil the party. Game one was a tightly contested battle, however, the Vikings found themselves trailing 3-1 in the seventh inning. With two on and two outs, the conference championship lied in the hands of slugger Raheim Hampton. Hampton battled and fouled off four straight pitches until he finally seen one he liked. The freshman unloaded on a fastball and launched it over the left center field wall, giving the Vikings a 5-3 lead. Will Thurston proceeded to close out the seventh with ease, giving the Vikings a miraculous game one win.


Itasca had all the momentum heading into the back half of the double header. However, Rainy River would jump out to the early lead on the back of a three run homer from Raheem Hasan. Itasca would answer the following inning however, as Noah Johnson smacked his second long ball of the season, this one being a two run homer, to cut the deficit to one. The two conference rivals would continue trading punch for punch all game. With a tie game in the ninth inning, lead off man Jon Olson delivered the biggest home run in his career by launching a clutch solo homer to give the Vikings the lead. Rainy River would not go down easy however, as they continued to scratch and claw there way back to tie it at six. In the eleventh inning, Adam Burgess decided to take matters into his own hands delivering a two rbi base knock. The Vikings would add another in the inning to make it a three run lead. Josh Wood picked up the win posting a 1-2-3 final inning to close out yet another conference championship for Itasca!



Friday May 6th, 2016

Written by Kody Anton

The Itasca Vikings split the conference double header with the Mesabi Range Norseman. Brandon Rankila lead his team to the victory in game one, by tossing a no hitter. Rankila fanned eleven Mesabi hitters and allowed just three base runners, in one of his most dominating starts of the season. Sophmore Thomas Revering was also a huge part of the victory, as he caught the no no and drove in three runs. Adam Burgess laced three hits in the 11-0 win.

Game two looked to be in the bag, when the Vikings scored five runs in the seventh to take a 6-3 lead. However, Mesabi battled back and put up 5 of their own to secure the double header split. Itasca will play Saturday in International Falls to take on Rainy River in crucial conference games.



April 23rd, 2016

Written by Kody Anton

Itasca and Rainy River hooked up Saturday at Legion Field to play a non conference double header. Itasca came away with two wins at home by the score of 6-3 and 11-3. Lucas Hedin and Will Thurston both picked up wins, meanwhile Austin Messenbrink was the catalyst offensively. Messenbrink  picked up five hits on the afternoon and three RBI’s. Cole Huotari was a spark in the leadoff spot, pounding three hits, three RBI’s, two stolen bases and drawing a walk. The Vikings will continue conference games again on Tuesday when Central Lakes visits Legion Field.



April 20th, 2016

Written by Kody Anton


Brandon Rankila continued his impressive sophmore season with a dominating performance in Northland. The ace of the staff came through big in game one of conference games, by tossing a complete game shutout. Itasca took control in the fourth inning by chalking up eight runs to extend the lead to 10-0. Lucas Hedin had three RBI’s in the 11-0 win.


Itasca looked to sweep the double header, however Northland had different plans. In the first inning, Gunnar Olson hit a three run home run to power the Pioneers to an early lead. Itasca would battle all day at the plate picking up 13 hits in the game. The Viking lead  heading into the bottom of the ninth, however Northland was relentless in game two and had an eventual walk off walk to steal the victory from Itasca.



Monday, April 18th

Written by Kody Anton


With conference games looming, the Mesabi Range Norsemen visited Legion Field to take on the Itasca Vikings. Lucas Hedin toed the rubber for the Vikings, coming off his sparkling debut against Hibbing earlier in the week. Hedin was lights out once again, tossing six innings, allowing just one run, four hits and one base on balls. Noah Johnson had himself a day, picking up two hits, and an RBI. Johnson also came in for the save in the seventh inning, to help secure a game one victory for Itasca.

Justin Lamppa’s sqaud was looking for their second straight win and fourth straight at home, with a possible sweep of Mesabi. The Vikings carried over the momentum from game one and took control of game two, when they extended their lead to four, when Cory Wokasch crushed a two run moonshot in the bottom of the fifth. Will Thurston had himself a solid outing, going five innings, allowing just two runs and punching out seven. Mesabi flexed their muscles in the top of the sixth, putting up seven runs on the board. Itasca had no answer, and fell in game two, 9-6. Cory Wokasch picked up four RBI’s in the loss, meanwhile Jon Olson and Kyle Tamminen had three hits apiece. The Vikings start conference games on Wednesday against Northland.


Thursday, April 14th

Written by Kody Anton

Wade Stadium hosted the St. Scholastica Saints and the Itasca Vikings as they battled in a double dip Thursday afternoon. The Saints would win both affairs by the scores of 16-5 and 7-2. Itasca’s win streak is finished at five, however they are back at home to take on Mesabi Range at Legion field. The first game of the double header starts at 2 pm, while game two goes at 4 pm.


Wednesday, April 13th

Written by Kody Anton


The Itasca Vikings hit the road again Wednesday, travelling to Central Lakes to play two games against the CLC Raiders. Itasca would win a nail biter in game one of the double header, with the final score being 7-4. The Vikings posted three runs in the top of the seventh, to squeek out the game one win. Jon Olson had a terrific day offensively hammering four hits and drawing a walk. Olson has been the hottest Viking during this recent stretch, by reaching base in his last nine plate appearances.

Zachary Nornberg started for Itasca coming off his win against Rochester, where he posted complete game shutout in his first college start. His second start was more of the same. The crafty right hander pitched five scoreless, while striking out four and allowing only two base runners. Coach Lamppa than called on Austin Duncan who tossed two effective innings, using only 26 pitches. Adam Burgess provided a jolt to the offense by going 3 for 3, with a round tripper. Itasca has now won five in a row, out scoring their opponents 52-9.



Tuesday, April 12th

Written by Kody Anton


Colin Gudereit came on in relief to pick up Itasca’s first win at home. Gudereit went four innings, giving up three hits and striking out five in the 8-5 victory. Leadoff man Jon Olson was the table setter by reaching base all four plate appearances.  Cory Wokasch and Gabe Magnusson both picked up a pair of RBI’s in the win.


In game two, Itasca took control of things in the fourth inning when they put up eleven runs to cap off a 17-0 victory. In the win, freshman Lucas Hedin made his college debut on the bump, going five innings and striking out eight Hibbing hitters.  Raheim Hampton continued his hot start by posting another solid performance at the plate. Hampton drove in three runs, had two extra base hits, and scored three runs himself. The Vikings hit the road on a roll, winning their last three ball games.


Sunday, April 10th

Written by Kody Anton

After losing both games against Ridgewater Saturday, the Vikings looked for a couple wins to end the week on a high note. However, game one did not start the way Itasca wanted. After allowing 3 runs in the first, and 3 in the second, they found themselves behind big early. Rochester’s catcher Zachary Bakko added to the lead in the third inning jolting a line drive into the right field seats to push the lead to 8-0. Rochester did not stop there. They continued to mash the baseball all over the field, and went on to win in 5 innings by the score of 17-0.

In game two, the Vikings seemed like an entirely different group. After Olson and Johnson went down in order to begin the game, Cory Wokasch dumped a single into left. The legendary two out rally began there. Hampton drew a walk, then Burgess knocked in Wokasch to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead. Kody Ahlstrand delivered a single that scored Hampton to double the lead, and load the bases. Levi Butler who was slotted in the nine hole, unloaded the bases with a triple to make it 6-0. As the Vikings bench was still erupting from the Butler RBI’s, Jon Olson came up for his second at bat of the inning. Olson drove a ball into centerfield and the whistling winds carried it over centerfielders head. Olson, who is known as one of the faster runners in the league, seemed to glide around the bases. With two out in the inning, third base coach Justin Lamppa did not hesitate to wave Olson all the way in to score. Later in the bizarre top of the first, Raheim Hampton delivered yet another two out rbi. This time driving in two, with a double. That was all the offense, sophmore Zachary Nornberg needed. Nornberg, who was making his first career collage start was absolutely dicing. He went the distance and had Yellowjacket hitters off balance all day long. The Vikings would go on to add 4 more runs and take the second game of the double header 14-0, in 5 innings. Levi Butler had a huge day as the freshman went 3 for 3, with 4 RBI’s and was just a home run away for the cycle.



Saturday, April 11th, 2016

Written by Kody Anton


The Ridgewater Warriors hosted the Itasca Vikings in Willmar, Minnesota for a Saturday double header. The two teams were dealing with blustery winds, which made it difficult for pitchers and defenders all day. The Vikings seemed to be out of sync on this chilly afternoon. The team made 5 errors in game 1, and allowed an unsettling 6 base on balls. The Warriors would take advantage of the free bases and go on to steal six bases. Though Itasca was able to muster up 7 runs, the Warriors put 13 up on the board to defeat the Vikings by 6.


In game two, Itasca would jump out to an early 1-0 lead on a Cory Wokasch sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first. Just an inning later, with the game tied, the Vikings had runners on second and third with nobody out. Third baseman Cooper Lamke saved two runs with a remarkable diving catch on a Noah Johnson line drive. The Vikings could not find a way to drive in the runners and would leave the bases loaded.

With the game tied at 3, midway through the ball game, Itasca’s Adam Burgess came up big, by hammering a two run home run into left field to give his team a two run cushion. However, the Warriors battled back once again and put up 5 runs in the 5th and 7 runs in the 6th.  Ridgewater out hit Itasca 17-6, which led them to 15-9 win over Itasca.



Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Written by Kody Anton

The Itasca Vikings travelled to Minnetonka for a double-header against the Mesabi Range Norsemen. The Sunday matchup at Veterans field hosted a pitchers duel in game one. Vikings ace Brandon Rankila was on the hill, meanwhile Kyle Maki started for Mesabi. There was no scoring until the third inning, when Itasca put up a two spot via RBI’s from Raheim Hampton and Cory Wokasch. That was all Rankila needed, as he allowed just a single knock, and struck out an outstanding 12 Mesabi hitters. Itasca would go on to put up three runs in the seventh inning, to secure the game one victory 5-0.

In game two the Vikings handed the ball to sophmore Josh Wood. Once again, starting pitching was dominant for Itasca. Wood tossed another complete game 1 hitter, the second of the day for the Vikings. The offense was provided by Raheim Hampton, who sparked the club going 3 for 4. Austin Mesenbrink and Kai Knudsen had back to back doubles in the fourth inning, to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, the Vikings decided to roll the dice and attempt a double suicide squeeze. Noah Johnson dropped a bunt down the third base line as Will Thurston and Jon Olson were both on move. Mesabi’s infield did not recognize that Olson was also breaking for home, as the speedy centerfielder beat the throw from first basemen John Moringlane. The Vikings would hold on to sweep the double header in style, allowing only two hits on the day.