MARLTON – Marc Petragnani has seen the Cherokee Excessive Faculty baseball workforce’s offense battle consistency points for the previous a number of seasons.
In the event you might promise him 4 runs a recreation, he would’ve taken it straight away.
Not this yr.
“We would like extra and we’re able to extra,” Petragnani mentioned.
Cherokee’s bats are in a groove and delivered on Wednesday because the eighth-seeded Marlton program downed No. 9 Delran 9-5 within the opening spherical of the forty eighth annual Joe Hartmann Diamond Basic.
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It’ll tackle top-seeded St. Augustine, the No. 1 program within the South Jersey Imply 15 rankings, within the quarterfinals within the coming days.
“The boldness is unreal proper now,” senior Jeremy Cheeseman mentioned. “We belief everybody. … That is the very best workforce I’ve been part of thus far. We belief one another and we are able to win.”
Belief was an issue in earlier campaigns.
Cherokee’s batters typically pressed within the field attempting to spark the offense. Cheeseman did it a lot.
He doesn’t really feel the necessity this spring.
“It doesn’t matter what, I do know everybody in our lineup can hit,” the cleanup hitter mentioned. “There’s no strain on me if I get out. I do know whoever’s after me goes to select me up it doesn’t matter what.”
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Others really feel the identical and it’s exhibiting.
Cherokee is averaging 7.2 runs a recreation this yr. It’s averaged greater than six simply as soon as within the earlier 10 seasons, and that was 2012, when it received South Jersey Group 4 (6.96 runs per recreation).
“We’ve got been hitting as a lot as we’ve ever hit in no less than 5 years, perhaps 10,” Petragnani mentioned.
It begins with leadoff man and junior Evan Brown, who opened the sport towards the Bears with a homer and completed with three RBIs.
“He’s the catalyst,” Petragnani mentioned. “He led off the sport with a house run, I feel it’s the second time he’s led off a recreation with a house run, and that instantly establishes oh, wow, OK, their leadoff hitter can get one out. Now I obtained to watch out with all people as a result of if the leadoff hitter can get one out, I assume 2, I assume 3, 4, 5 can get one out too.”
In reality, six completely different Cherokee gamers have gone yard this yr, probably the most in additional than a decade. The workforce’s 13 residence runs are additionally their most in no less than 10 years, and there’s nonetheless a month to play.
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“It’s powerful as a result of in the event you don’t pitch to Evan, Jason (Schooley) comes up, and Dom (Patrizi) is a Division-I hitter (Lehigh), Cheeseman is a Division-I hitter (Fairleigh Dickenson), (Brandon) Petrick is having a terrific yr, (Brandon) Prince has been strong within the six gap all yr, 7, 8, 9, we’ve juggled round a bit bit, however we’ve gotten contributions from all of them offensively,” Petragnani mentioned.
That confirmed towards Delran as seven-hitter Leo Bluestein was 2-for-2 with an RBI, No. 9 hitter Dylan Cruice drove a run in and so did pinch-hitter Dimitri Laoutaris.
Solely two regulars on the workforce are hitting under .300, and the bottom of these averages continues to be .286.
“It doesn’t matter who’s on the mound,” Brown mentioned. “We’re going to battle and we’re going to swing it. We’re going to be aggressive. It’s a unique mentality from final yr. We had been attempting to do an excessive amount of. This yr it’s a managed aggression. We’re attempting to fabricate runs and win ballgames.”
Cheeseman reveals off arm
Cheeseman has emerged as a frontline arm for Cherokee this season after solely throwing 23 pitches a yr in the past.
He improved to 2-0 on the marketing campaign after permitting 2 runs in 5 1/3 innings on Wednesday. He gave up 5 hits, walked 2 and fanned 8.
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He’s now obtained a 2.30 ERA over 21 1/3 frames.
“He’s been fairly good,” Petragnani mentioned. “He’s been actual good. We didn’t want him final yr so I didn’t use him that a lot. We’d like him this yr and he’s responded.”
By the numbers
4 – Dwelling runs for Brown this season, a team-best. He scorched a solo shot the other approach on the third pitch of the sport.
“I simply missed the primary one early within the depend and I used to be sitting on that fastball and he threw it up within the zone and I put a very nice swing on it,” he mentioned.
7 – Video games this season Cherokee has scored no less than 9 runs. That’s equal to the quantity it scored within the three earlier seasons mixed.
No give up
Delran confirmed combat down the stretch because it scored 3 times within the high of the seventh, however in the end the seven-run deficit getting into the body was an excessive amount of to beat.
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KJ Giangreco hit the ball a ton, blasting a solo homer within the fourth inning and two extra deep outs that fell simply in need of the fence.
Cherokee (11-4) takes on East Brunswick at Mercer County Park on Thursday whereas Delran (10-4) will get 4 days off earlier than touring to Cinnaminson on Monday.
Josh Friedman has produced award-winning South Jersey sports activities protection for the Courier Put up, The Each day Journal and the Burlington County Occasions for greater than a decade. You probably have or know of an attention-grabbing story to inform, attain out on Twitter at @JFriedman57 or by way of e mail at email@example.com. You can too contact him at 856-486-2431. Assist help native journalism with a subscription.