Tigers baseball faces Grizzlies again in Aurora

CHERRY — There’s an old saying that it’s hard to beat one team three times in one season.

The Cherry High School baseball team will find that out today when they take on North Woods in a Section 7A loser’s bracket contest, beginning at 2 p.m. in Aurora.

The Tigers and Grizzlies have met twice this season in a doubleheader on May 7.

Cherry won the first game 6-1, then took the nightcap 3-1.

If the Tigers want to work their way back into the finals, the last thing they can do is look past North Woods.

“They’re playing well because they’re still here,” Cherry coach Brian Kemp said. “They were swinging it well early in the year, and when we played them. We won’t take them lightly.

“I will give them my best in Beau (Barry). I’m trotting my best out there to see what happens. You have to win one to get to the next one.”

Cherry got itself in this situation with a 5-0 loss to Silver Bay last week, then the Tigers came back to beat Chisholm 10-7.

It didn’t help that the Tigers’ defense made three errors in that Mariners game.

“Pitching and defense is what carried us into that game, then our defense wasn’t there,” Kemp said. “That’s what has kept us around. We kicked around the ball against Silver Bay.

“We only had one error in three games, then we had three in one game.”

It wasn’t only the errors. Cherry’s offense went on summer break during that game, so that will have to be picked up if the Tigers want to advance in the playoffs.

“We have to swing it better,” Kemp said. “We’re not striking out a lot, but we’re not making good contact. We’re not finding a whole lot of barrels. We had a lot of weak-hit balls, and when we did hit it hard, we hit it right at guys.

“I’m confident that our defense will come around. We have to finish our swings. We’ve had a lot of uncertainty. Guys are swimming at pitches they normally wouldn’t swing at, or they’re being hesitant to not hit the pitches they probably would.”

To expedite that, Kemp put his team through some extensive hitting practice Monday.

“We got in some batting practice, and I had a handful of guys pitching live,” Kemp said. “It was a good practice that should help with any momentum heading into today. Defense will keep us in it. Our offense is what will win us some games.

“It would be nice to be playing on Thursday.”

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