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High school baseball: Cherokee Bluff bounces back with 7-1 win over West Hall to even series
Cherokee Bluff's Dylan Kautz prepares to deliver a pitch against West Hall during the game on Thursday, March 18 at Cherokee Bluff High School. - photo by Nathan Berg

Cherokee Bluff evened the score with West Hall Thursday evening, getting 3 runs in the first inning and 4 more in the fifth to roll to a 7-1 victory over the Spartans (11-4, 4-1 Region 7-3A) at home. The Bears victory puts the series score at 1-1 between the teams, with Game 3 scheduled for Friday evening.

Bryce England got things going for the Bears (9-4, 1-1 Region 7-3A) early with a 2-run homer over the right field wall in the first inning that set the tone for the rest of the game. Dylan Kautz got the start and the win for the Bears and struck out 12 over six innings, giving up just one hit. 

“I’m super proud of our guys,” Cherokee Bluff coach Jeremy Kemp said after the game. “Bouncing back is tough, especially winning on days like today when you’re not sure if you’re playing. The way it rained this morning I was kind of having my doubts of getting on the field. So I’m proud of them for staying focused and being ready to play.”

The Bears got things going early in the game.

Ben Jenkins got Cherokee Bluff on the board first with an RBI double, and England’s home run scored both him and Jenkins to put the home team on top 3-0 early. 

The Cherokee Bluff offense stalled there for a time, but consistent pitching from Kautz helped to preserve the lead. 

Kautz did not allow a hit until the sixth inning, and had just two walks. 

“I was super proud of Dylan (Kautz),” Kemp said. “We needed that from Dylan. He did an awesome job. Six innings, 12 strikeouts. I felt like he threw great.” 

Kautz’s no-hitter was broken up with two innings in the top of the sixth, when Kyle Murphy’s triple scored West Hall’s lone run in the game. 

But the run was too little, too late for the Spartans, as Cherokee Bluff had already bolstered its lead with 4 more runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to RBIs from Clay Tyas, Caleb Piland and Lucas Tritt. 

“I’m super proud of our guys bouncing back,” Kemp said. “Sometimes that’s hard. But they did a good job and for the most part we did a lot better job at the plate. Hopefully that continues into tomorrow.”

Game 3 will take place on Friday at 5:55 p.m. at West Hall High School.