The #1 Cherokee Braves ran their early-season record to 3-0 with a compelling 5-1 victory over dangerous Estherville-LC in Lakes Conference baseball action here on May 27th.
In winning the key conference match-up, the Braves got the best of Midget ace Matt Gruhlke, an outstanding pitcher who has given the storied Cherokee baseball program troubles throughout his prep career.
The Braves broke open a scoreless pitching dual between the senior Gruhlke and Cherokee's super sophomore Cody Ege, with a four-run fifth inning. That rally was keyed by the bats and feet of fleet Kyle Schuett and solid Philip Schulenberg. Both were 2-3 hitting for the game, with Schulenberg accounting for a big RBI, and Schuett scoring twice. Both also had a stolen base to his credit.
Also factoring in to the big victory were Tyler Jones and Kyle Schuck, each producing runs off strategic squeeze bunt plays.
The midgets scored a meaningless unearned run in the seventh and final inning following two throwing errors by the usually defensively-sound Braves, ruining Ege's shut-out chances.
Ege allowed one unearned run on three scattered hits and no walks, with five strikeouts in seven innings aganst the pesky Midgets. Gruhlke gave up one earned run on four hits and one walk. He struck out nine Braves in six innings of work.
E-LC is now 4-2 this season. The Braves play at Sheldon May 30th, and host the annual Cherokee Tournament Saturday, also featuring Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn, Jefferson-Scranton/Paton-Churdan (JSPC), and Sioux City East. Cherokee plays MMC to start it all off at 11 a.m.