Monday, May 17, 2004
By Jerome Michaels
The first round of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs began with Cherokee hosting the ninth seeded Vikings from Eastern. Every pitch counted in this game as each team looked to find a way to gain the edge that would keep them alive in the playoffs. Cherokee, seeded eighth, watched a three run lead dissipate quickly to just one run during the top of the seventh inning. Cherokee would hold on for a 4-3 victory and now face the top seeded Toms River East in the next round.
After splitting their regular season games, Cherokee had won the last of the two by scoring fourteen runs. That success had to give the Chiefs the slight edge knowing that they could score runs against Eastern’s pitching staff. But this was the playoff and players find a different level of concentration in order to extend their season to at least another game.
Cherokee took advantage of early runners on base and jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one complete inning. Two more runs by the Chiefs allowed their lead to expand by a 4-1 advantage at the end of the fifth inning. Steve Yarzinsky came through with a run batted in single to plate two. But the Vikings were not done and made this game interesting. Scoring one run short from tying this game provided a very exciting final inning.
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