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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Braves fall in championship

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hundreds of Cherokee fans made repeated trips to Des Moines last week to cheer the incomparable Cherokee Braves on their journey to a possible second consecutive State Championship. A heart-breaking 4-2 loss to perennial power Davenport Assumption Saturday in the Class 2A title game left the defending State Champs one game short. Photo by Paul Struck
Assumption gains revenge with 4-2 win

DES MOINES - The #1 Cherokee Braves stranded a dozen base runners, including three each in the pivotal fourth and fifth innings, on the way to a heart-breaking 4-2 defeat at the hands of perennial Iowa baseball power Davenport Assumption in the Class 2A State Baseball Championships here Saturday afternoon.

"We had our chances," said a disappointed Cherokee coach Scott Koch. "We had the bases loaded two times and runners at first and third two other times and couldn't get the big hit. We usually come up with critical hits in those times, but didn't today. That's the way baseball is, I guess."

Cherokee's Matt Koch lays down a bunt during the Braves State Championship Baseball game against Davenport Assumption in Des Moines Saturday. Photo by Paul Struck
Cherokee junior pitcher Matt Koch, sporting a modest 5-0 record this season after being used mainly in a closer's role due to the Braves' deep pitching staff, battled the potent Knights (35-8) throughout, allowing four runs on nine hits and one walk, with three strikeouts in six innings of work.

Senior Jake Kent got the win for Assumption, giving up one earned run on 10 hits and one walk, with six Ks in seven innings.

Tyler Jones led the Cherokee hitters with a 3-4 game and one RBI, while Scott Brown was 3-4, Mark Johnson 1-4 with an RBI, Kyle Ruehle 1-3, Tim Jones 1-3, and Cody Ege 1-4.

The Braves scored a run in the first ater Tyler Jones led off with a single, was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Matt Koch, and scored on Johnson's single to right field. Cherokee tallied its final run in the sixth when Brown singled, advanced to third on a fielder's choice ground ball by Matt Pitts that the Knights third baseman threw into right field, and scored on a Tyler Jones single.

Although they stroked 10 hits in the game, the Braves had trouble adjusting to the umpire's wide strike zone that, at times, was wide enough to warrant a light bar and pilot car. A couple college coaches watching behind home plate noted that several pitches were called strikes against both teams that were at least a foot off the plate.

The Braves end their magical season with a 30-2 record, after winning the State Championship last year with a 5-4 victory over Assumption and posting a 31-2 mark.

Cherokee's Scott Brown gets a low five from teammate Matt Koch (3) after scoring against Davenport Assumption in the Class 2A Iowa State Baseball Championship game in Des Moines Saturday. Photo by Paul Struck
"I'm proud of the kids," added coach Koch. "We battled and had our chances and were the only two teams left playing in the state in our class. "We hit the ball hard, but right at them too many times."

The Braves, in their fourth consectutive state appearance and fifth in six years, lose five quality seniors to graduation in Ruehle, Johnson, Tim Jones, Brown, and Dillon Moye.

A disconsolate collection of talented Cherokee Braves hold the Class 2A State Baseball Championships runner-up trophy aloft after a heart-breaking, 4-2 loss to a fortunate Davenport Assumption team in Des Moines Saturday afternoon, July 26th. The title game setback left the Braves with a superb 30-2 record this season, to match their 31-2 mark and State Championship victory over the same team last year. Photo by Paul Struck
Assumption, this year's top seed and rated #2 behind the Braves all season, plays a 4A schedule and will move into Class 3A, or possibly even Class 4A next year.

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