The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


East Varsity Baseball falls 2-1 to Cherokee in a competitive pitcher’s duel

Jessica Atlas (’27)
East pitcher Michael Fekete (’27) standing at the mound.

On Wednesday, May 15, the Cherry Hill High School East Cougars (9-12) fell to the Cherokee Chiefs (13-8), on their home field, ultimately losing the game 2-1. East’s hard fought battle showcased the team’s determination and resilience. Freshman pitcher, Michael Fekete’s (‘27) skill, confidence and determination never wavered, keeping himself and East in the game until the very end.

With the home-field advantage, the Cougars kept the game alive and suspenseful. Earlier this season, the Cougars lost 7-0 at Cherokee.

Fekete expressed his excitement about the chance for a second match-up against Cherokee pitcher and outfielder Brett Gable (‘25), saying, “I am super confident in myself going into the game, especially trusting my teammates behind me. Although I pitched well last time, I walked too many guys and the game got away from us.”

This season’s pitching statistics for Fekete and Gable include 43 strikeouts with a 3.53 Earned run average (ERA) and 54 strikeouts with a 2.19 ERA, respectively.

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Starting off strong, the game began with two scoreless innings, foreshadowing a pitcher’s duel for two of South Jersey’s top pitchers. At the top of the third, the game gets going when Cherokee catcher and designated hitter Mason Kelleher (‘25), doubles and Brett Chiesa (‘25) singles, giving the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. Displaying stellar defense, East limits Cherokee to only one run, thanks to a double play executed by pitcher Fekete, shortstop Brody Conners (‘26) and first baseman Tristan Perry (‘25). Only Chiesa manages to reach home plate, scoring the one run.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the East Cougars tied up the game 1-1. Getting it started, Fekete hits a ground ball, managing to reach first on an error. After that, Brandon Dekerlegand (‘24) walks and Brett McLaughlin (‘24) singles on a fly ball to center field which scores the run East needed to even up the game.

With only one out and two men still on base, this was the chance for East to gain the lead, but when Josh Perr (‘25) bunts the ball into a fielder’s choice, Dekergerland gets out while running home. Recording the final out of the inning, Dillon Haddock (‘27) grounds out on pitcher Gable’s throw to first base.

At the top of the sixth, the Chiefs take the lead 2-1, but the Cougar’s defense remains strong, not committing any errors in the field.

In the final inning of the game, the Cougars saw a big opportunity to tie it up when Dekerlegand drew a hard-earned walk. After being forced to throw him ten pitches, Gable hit the maximum pitch count of 113 and had to retire from the game. With Gable benched, East’s hope remained alive.

As the final batters warmed up, the Cougar fans closed their eyes and held their breath hoping that the tying run on base would be scored. However, Grayson Bravo (‘24) immediately struck out the first batter. For the final at-bat of the game, Vinnie DeChristopher (‘24) pounded the ball to left field, leaving everyone on the edge of their seats, until Cherokee’s left fielder made a catch that stranded the tying Cougar on base to end the game.

Throughout the game, the Cougars stayed focused and worked hard offensively which was not an easy task against D1 Virginia Tech commit, Gable. Keeping the game close can be credited to Fekete’s pitching and the Cougar’s solid defense.

Mike Shulke (‘24), University of Delaware commit and team captain said, “I think the pitching matchup was great. Fekete is pitching the best game he’s pitched all year, which kept us in the game.”

Having not won a game against Cherokee since 2019, the Cougar’s came close to changing that. Their defense ultimately limited the Chiefs to two runs, despite having nine hits throughout the game.

Although the Cougars demonstrated determination and hard work, Zach Salsbery (‘25) commented, “We needed to hit better because scoring one run isn’t going to do it. We got to score more runs for our pitchers.”

Fekete was proud of the game against Cherokee and said, “My teammates played good in the field and all in all it was a great game. We battled, but now it’s time to think about the playoffs.”

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