Cherokee's Braves, the defending Class 2A State Baseball Champions rated #1 to start this 2008 season, did little to tarnish that glossy reputation last week, easily dispatching two solid teams to start the season.
On May 22 in Cherokee, the Braves rode the arm and bat of sophomore Cody Ege, who stymied a 2-0 Humboldt squad 8-0. Ege allowed just two scattered hits and struck out 10 in six innings of work. Junior Tyler Jones relieved Ege and struck out the side to end the game in the seventh frame.
Levi Miller took the pitching loss for Humboldt as the Braves pounded out eight hits for eight runs in the game.
On May 24, the Braves played MOC-Floyd Valley at Lewis & Clark Park in Sioux City, prevailing 13-3 after a four-run first inning got them out of the chute well. The game ended after six innings due to the 10-run Mercy rule.
Leading the Cherokee offense were Mark Johnson 3-3, Tyler Jones 2-5, Cody Ege 1-3 with an RBI, Kyle Schuck 1-4 with an RBI, and Matt Koch, 1-2 with an RBI.
Koch got the pitching win, allowing no earned runs on two hits, with nine strikeouts and one walk in five innings of work. Johnson pitched the sixth and final inning, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two.
The Dutchmen's starter Zeutenhorst took the pitching loss for MOC-FV.
"We'll take them," said veteran Cherokee coach Scott Koch, Iowa's 2A Coach of The Year after winning last year's state championship. "We had some guys missing for state tennis and golf, but we did all right. Our depth should help us all season long."
The Braves hosted Le Mars on May 28, and host the Cherokee Tournament May 31. Cherokee plays Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn at 11 a.m., to be followed by Jefferson-Scranton/Paton-Churdan (JSPC) versus Sioux City East. The two losers then play each other, and the final game follows that.