Braves scores in double-digits to pick up pair of wins over MVAOCOU and Westerners

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Cherokee baseball team rounded out last week with a pair of road wins, first a 13-3 win at MVAOCOU on Wednesday before an 11-2 victory over Akron-Westfield on Thursday.

On Wednesday, against MVAOCOU, freshman Daenon Loucks pitched a beauty and joined senior teammate Levi Pingel for two hits each in leading the Braves to their first win of the season, a 13-3, 10-run-rule win in five innings.

Loucks worked 3-1/3 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five, walking one and hitting four MVAOCOU Ram batters. Senior Trey Benson came on in relief and worked 1-2/3 innings, allowing one hit, striking out one, walking one and hitting one batter.

Pingel and Loucks went two-for-two at the plate with a single and double each, while teammates Aiden Comstock, Alex Kohn and Nick Clark all had base hits for the Braves.

"Overall, I was very pleased to pick up the win tonight," said Tom Ryherd, head Cherokee baseball coach. "We swung the bats well and we hit a lot of balls hard right at the defense. As the season progresses, we'll see more of those ball find gaps," he added.

After losing a season opener to tenth ranked Remsen St. Mary's last week, Cherokee pounced on the host Rams early and scored five runs in the first innings and added three in the third. Then the Braves put a lid on this one with five more runs in the fifth.

"We have to clean up some things on the base paths, but those are easy fixes," said Ryherd. "A couple of the base-running mistakes are on me as a coach, trying to leverage the opponent into making mistakes. But I want our guys to be aggressive on the bases," he added.

The Braves, who committed three errors in the opener again Remsen, played errorless ball here. "I felt we were in control all night and played very well defensively," noted Ryherd.

On Thursday against Akron-Westfield, Cherokee erupted for 10 hits and rode the strong arm of southpaw Aiden Comstock on the way to a 11-2 victory.

Comstock was a workhorse and consistent throughout his seven innings, striking out five, allowing just two runs on five scattered hits, walking three and striking out five.

"Aiden did a great job of keeping their lineup off balance by mixing in his off speed pitches," said Tom Ryherd, head Cherokee coach. "He was able to work out of a couple early inning jams, and then sat them down in order the last three innings," he added.

Ryherd also credited good defensive play in the field throughout the game as a key factor in the win.

Four Braves highlighted Cherokee's offense with two hits apiece. Sophomore Alex Kohn had a double and single as did freshman teammate Daenon Loucks, while senior Trey Benson belted a pair of singles and Comstock cracked two base hits to aid his cause.

Also for the Braves, seniors Joe Benson and Levi Pingel added base hits in the Braves lopsided win over the host Westerners.

Cherokee led 4-2 after one inning, then tacked on three runs in the fourth and closed it out with four seventh inning runs, improving to 2-1 on the season.

"This was a great win for us against a quality opponent," said Ryherd. "Aiden was superb and the last three innings he was in a zone and shut them out," he added. "Our defense was solid all night with the wind blowing 25 mile an hour, which made any fly ball interesting. Trey Benson made a great catch in left field to end the game," added Ryherd.

Ryherd said he was especially pleased with his players in their approach at the plate and the ability to put the ball in play. "We forced their pitchers to make pitches and did not chase anything out of the zone," he said. The Braves walked six times and struck out just four times on the night.

Cherokee rises to 2-1 and were scheduled to host Sioux Center on Monday afternoon. The Braves play three straight on the road, at Ridge View tonight at 7:15 p.m., at East Sac County on Thursday at 6 p.m. with JV to follow, and at Woodbury Central on Saturday for a 10 a.m. tournament. The Braves return home next Tuesday against MMCRU on Kenny Bern Field.

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