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Ida Baker Prevails In Pitching Battle Against Cape Coral

Designated hitter Christian Menendez scores the Bulldogs' first run.

Pitching was the name of the game in Tuesday nights match-up between the Ida Baker Bulldogs and the Cape Coral Seahawks. Both starers had strong outings but offense from the Bulldogs led them to a 4-1 district win in their first district action.

Ida Baker (5-0) gives the Seahawks their first district loss to move Cape Coral (8-2, 2-1) into a tie for second place in 6A District 11. The Bulldogs sit in first in the early going with their 1-0 district mark.

A robust day at the plate for designated hitter Christian Menendez helped the offense get rolling. He scored two of the Bulldogs’ four runs.

“I just did what we do at practice,” said Menendez. “Don’t try to do too much. It was a great win to get against our rivals.”

The first inning set the tone for the entire game. Seahawks starter Reed Harris struck out two to start the game, while in the bottom half of the inning Bulldogs starter Bryce Vanhorn got two strikeouts of his own. This back and forth battle continued until the fourth inning, with Harris racking up six strikeouts and Vanhorn three.

“Vanhorn had a tremendous outing for us,” said Bulldog’s Manager Robert Van Deventer. “We threw the ball well, and when you give up one run it us you in a pretty good spot to win.”

In the fourth, the bats woke up for both sides. The Bulldogs’ Gabe Villaverde reached base on a fielder’s choice and was moved to third in the next at-bat by a double from Menendez. A passed ball allowed Villaverde to score the first run of the game and Menendez to move to third. Dakota Kayatta then singled, bringing in Menendez and giving the Bulldogs a two-run lead. Harris got a batter to line out and picked up another strikeout to end the inning.

Seahawk’s catcher Matt McDade led the bottom half of the inning off with a single. A throwing error on a pick-off attempt allowed him to move to second. A wild pitch moved him to third, and a misplayed ball hit by Andrew Jaffarian allowed McDade to score the Seahawks’ first run. Vanhorn seemed to regroup after the run and got two strikeouts to end the inning.

Seahawks starter Reed Harris had seven strikeouts in six innings on the mound.

“I just threw strikes, tried to get people out,” said Vanhorn. “You get a big adrenaline rush and you start to get into a groove once you’re on the mound.”

The fifth inning saw more strong pitching for both teams. In the sixth Ida Baker center fielder Luke Endsley reached second on an error and Cory Hill walked, putting runners on first and second. A misplayed ball loaded the bases for left fielder Matt McGarty, who singled to bring in Endsley. Hill attempted to score as well but was thrown out at the plate for the third out of the inning. Vanhorn got three quick outs in the bottom half of the inning.

In the top of the seventh Cape Coral brought in relief pitcher Spencer Roach, who got two quick outs but, after a walk and an error, had runners on first and second. A single by Endsley brought a run in. In the next at-bat Roach was able to get the third out. Vanhorn stayed in to close out the game and got three outs and his eighth strikeout to end the game.

“We did a pretty good job on the mound and swung the bat OK tonight,” said Seahawks Manager Mike Gorton. “But we had five errors, and against a good team you can’t do that.”

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