It hasn't been easy, but the #1 Class 2A Cherokee Braves baseball team continued its winning ways here last week, defeating a dangerous Estherville-LC club 10-3 Wednesday night, and then sneaking past a quality Le Mars team 1-0 in a pitching duel featuring two crafty lefties.
The Lakes Conference victories gives the Braves an 8-1 record, including a 5-1 Lakes Conference mark for the defending league champions and veteran coach Scott Koch.
Joel Kazmerzak took the pitching loss for the Midgets, allowing nine runs on five hits and four walks, with one strikeout in 2 1/3 innings. The Braves tallied seven runs in the third frame to blow the game open after trailing 3-2 at that point.
Cody Ege led the Braves at the plate with a 2-2 night, including a double and two RBI. Tyler Jones was 2-3 with a double and one RBI, Matt Koch 2-2 with an RBI, Kyle Schuck 1-3 with a double and RBI, and Matt Pitts 1-3 with an RBI.
"Matt Started out slow but adjusted and threw a very nice game after the first inning," said coach Koch. "We had a good offensive night, scoring 10 runs. We also had a couple nice defensive plays tonight."
Ege struck out a whopping 14 batters in the tense victory over Le Mars Thursday night, allowing just three hits and walking one in a superb outing that made the difference in the game.
He was matched by a stellar performance from Le Mars lefty Brayton Ringsdorf, who gave up just one run on four hits and two walks, with four Ks in six innings of work.
In the third inning, Kyle Schuett doubled to score Tyler Jones, who had doubled to account for the Braves lone run. Both finished 2-3 on the night to glean the only hits surrendered by Ringsdorf. Both of Jones's hits were doubles off the wall.
"Cody pitched a great game," said coach Koch. "It was a pitcher's duel between two good lefties."
Cherokee, the 2007 State Champions and State runner-up last year, plays at Sheldon tonight, hosts Spirit Lake Wednesday, and travels to Manson NW Webster Thursday night.