A huge crowd watched the #1 Cherokee Braves methodically dissect a very good and very young Fort Dodge St. Edmond's baseball team here Saturday night, with a convincing 10-2 victory and the championship of the Class 2A District.
The big win propelled the 27-2 Braves to a Substate final in Carroll Tuesday night against 5th-ranked Carroll Kuemper, winner to the State Tournament beginning Friday in Des Moines.
With a sophomore-dominated line-up, St. Edmond's put a scare into the Braves early here Saturday night, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on two solid hits. However, the Braves answered back with two of their own in the bottom of the first and then pecked away with a run or two each inning to never again trail in the game.
After the 19-14 Gaels stung winning Cherokee pitcher Kyle Ruehle with that early run, the crafty junior settled down and took command of the game with his wide array of pitches. All told, Ruehle gave up two runs on just four hits and no walks, while striking out three.
The Gaels' ace, lefty Joey Flattery, started the game and took the loss for St. Edmond's, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks, with one K in 2 2/3 innings of work. John Engler relieved Flattery and gave up four runs on four hits and two walks, with one K in 2 1/3 innings. Jon Flattery relieved Engler and allowed one run on one hit and three walks in one inning of work.
Cherokee pounded out 11 hits in the game, with Cory Ege leading the parade with a 3-3 night and two RBI, to say nothing of three stellar defensive plays from his shortstop position that shut down the Gaels' attack each time. Mark Johnson and Matthew Boothby also had great defensive plays in their outfield positions, and catcher Tyler Jones was superb in allowing no passed balls to the cavernous area behind home plate.
Other leading hitters for the victorious Braves were Mark Johnson 2-3, Matt Koch 1-2 with two RBI, Ruehle 1-2 with an RBI, Tim Jones 1-4 with a double and run scored, Cody Ege 1-2 with a double and run scored, Tyler Jones 1-3, and Kyle Schuett 1-4 with an RBI and run scored.
"It was a very well-played game," said Cherokee coach Scott Koch. "Our defense was very good and Kyle threw a great game."