You might not expect this much emotion out of a season-opening high school baseball tournament.
But when two Cape Coral high school teams not much more than a couple of long homers apart carried their rivalry across the Caloosahatchee River to play the championship game of Cape High's Early Bird Tournament at Fort Myers' Terry Park, they brought their intensity with them.
Cape High brought home the Early Bird trophy Friday night with a 2-1 win over Ida Baker.
Seahawks catcher Matt Richey doubled home Luke Spangler in the bottom of the sixth inning for what proved to be the game-winning run.
"Winning the Early Bird is nice," Seahawks coach Mike Gorton said. "We won it last year and became runner-up in the district. Winning this doesn't mean anything in the end, but it's nice; and plus Baker's a really strong team and to get a win against them definitely motivates the players."
A lively crowd at historic Terry Park got to see some strong pitching, some early season mistakes and a little more.
A few words were exchanged at second base after Richey's double, and while there were no shoves or punches, two Seahawks were ejected for leaving the dugout.
Both coaches described the altercation as a simple matter of players having known each other for years just letting their emotion show.
"Crosstown rivals or whatever you want to call it, they're high school kids. It was a heated game. It ended quickly and we've learned from that," Bulldogs coach Bob Van Deventer said.
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a pair of walks off Spangler and a fielding error by the Seahawks. The unearned run was all the Seahawks pitching surrendered.
Spangler and Kyle Arjona combined on a three-hitter, with Arjona getting the win in relief.
Cape tied the game 1-1 in the third inning. Scottie Dudas singled and was bunted to second. Billy Pryor's opposite-field single to right scored Dudas.
Bulldogs starter Billy Larrimore gave up that run on two hits and a walk in four innings. He struck out seven, including four in a row. Jon Ryker would take the loss. He gave up Dudas' single before being relieved by Luke Rolland, who surrendered Richey's double to straightaway center.
"It's early. Three games in that first week is tough," Van Deventer said. "But pitched great, couldn't hit the ball. You score one run you're not going to win a lot of games."
Ida Baker had opportunities to score again, but base running woes interceded. Issac Struense was picked off second with nobody out in the top of the fifth. Two batters later Tanner Renegar doubled.
In the top of the seventh, Caleb Farmer led off with a single, but was out trying to stretch it to a double.
The city rivals face a rematch next Friday at Baker.
Ida Baker 100 000 0 - 1 3 2
Cape Coral 001 001 x - 2 2 0
W - Arjona. L - Ryker.
2B - Renegar (IB), Richey (CC).
South Fort Myers 2, Island Coast 1: Tanner Peer started South Fort Myers' game-winning rally in the third inning with one of his two hits.
Peer stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored on an RBI groundout to clip Island Coast in a consolation game of the Early Bird Tournament Friday night.
Joey Morales tripled in the ninth to set up the winning run and scored with one out on the single by Lopez. Morales pitched two innings in relief to earn the win for the Tritons (1-2).
The Tritons travel to Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
Josh Deering took the loss on the mound for the Gators (1-2), who travel to Sarasota Riverview on Tuesday.
Island Coast 100 000 0 - 1 4 3
South FM 101 000 x - 2 5 1
W - Kelly. L - Deering (0-1).
Mariner 4, North Fort Myers 3: Tony Lopez came through with a game-winning single in the ninth inning to lift Mariner to its first win of the season Friday.
Mariner 110 010 001 - 4 7 2
North FM 000 100 200 - 3 4 2
W - Joey Morales. L - Schnell-Hall.
2B - Marrero (M), Tracy (M). 3B - Morales (M).