The Island Coast Gators had the hot hand on a cool, breezy night Friday. The Gators improved to 4-1 in District 6A-11 with an 8-1 victory at Ida Baker.
The Gators (8-1) opened a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, then put the game away with runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to back the pitching of Quinn Bourque (4-0) and reliever Cordelle Hale.
Bourque pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up an unearned run on four hits and two walks. He struck out eight.
"Bourque's been our horse this year," Island Coast coach Clinton Montgomery said. "He wasn't as sharp as he's been, but he was pretty good tonight. We plan on resting him next week and skipping a start so we let him extend his pitch count tonight. We played a good defensive game with a couple of double plays and did some things right."
Ida Baker challenged Bourque with a pair of singles to open the fourth. The junior responded with a popup and a pair of strikeouts.
"It was 3-nothing," Baker coach Bob Van Deventer said. "We had first and second with nobody out. We didn't situational hit to get us back into the game."
Island Coast took advantage of some wildness by Bulldogs starter Bryce Van Horn (0-2), who walked three batters, gave up a hit and was tagged for three runs in one-third of an inning. Christian Diaz' two-run single was the key shot of the inning.
"We took advantage of some things early," Montgomery said. "We got a couple of key hits there. The guys got on and Diaz came through and did a good job."
"We don't have the offensive firepower to fall behind early like that and just give away runs," Van Deventer said. "Falling behind and giving them fastball counts. They're good hitters. They know when fastballs are coming."
Nikko Rodriguez knocked in a run in the Gators' fifth while Miguel Vidal and Sean Gavit drove in runs in the sixth. Island Coast's final two runs scored on an error and a fielder's choice.
Gavit and Anthony Churlin scored two runs each for Island Coast.
"When you get a lead early in the game often times teams sit around," Montgomery said. "It was important to tack some runs on. In the last two innings they left five guys on base. They had some chances and if it's still 3-0 it's a whole different ballgame."
The Bulldogs finally got Bourque out of the game in the sixth. A single and two walks loaded the bases. Hale entered, but Ida Baker got a run on an error on the first batter he faced. A double play then ended the rally.
It was another tough night for a young Bulldogs team (1-8, 0-5).
"We really only have one starting player on the varsity from last year," Van Deventer said. "We've just got to learn to win. We've got to learn what it takes to win. Right now we're not doing what it takes to win. Until we do that we'll keep losing."
Meanwhile, the Gators remain in pursuit of Venice for first place in 6A-11. The goal is at least a top-three finish, which means avoiding the play-in game for the fourth- and fifth-place teams in the district.
"We set a goal to finish in the top three seeds," Montgomery said. "We didn't want to have to play that play-in game. Next week versus Venice will be a tough game, a chance for a number-one seed, but it's not just Venice. We still have North (Fort Myers) and Port Charlotte. We're not looking for a one-seed, but we achieved our goal tonight to make sure we're in the 1-2-3 seeds. So that's a big win for us."
Island Coast 300 012 2 8 7 1
1?Ida Baker 000 001 0 1 5 2?
WP - Bourque (4-0). LP - Van Horn (0-2).
2B - Gavit.
Mariner 12, Lely 5: Logan Hanick went 3-for-4 with an RBI and drove in two runs as Mariner defeated Lely Friday night.
Brandon Feehery contributed three hits and an RBI for the Tritons with Joey Morales driving in three runs with a pair of hits. Winning pitcher Hunter Chappell (2-0) struck out four over three innings in relief of Michael Patton to pick up the win.
The Tritons (9-1) host Immokalee on Tuesday.
Cape Coral 10, Immokalee 0: Shane McClanahan allowed one hit and struck out seven Friday night as Cape Coral posted a five-inning victory over Immokalee.
Scott Dudas, Matt Richey and Kyle Arjona each had two hits to lead the Seahawks. Dudas doubled, tripled and drove in a run. Richey scored one run and drove in one. Luke Spangler added an RBI and pitched the final inning, striking out all three batters.
McClanahan, Juston Parmalee and Spangler tossed an combined one-hit shutout. The Seahawks (8-3) host Golden Gate on Tuesday.
Fort Myers 18, North Fort Myers 0: Tim Winters (4-0) earned the victory over North Fort Myers by pitching a one-hit shutout Friday.
Carter Smith drove in one run with two hits and Skyler Wiens added an RBI double for the Green Wave (7-3), who play at Ida Baker on Monday.
Cape Coral 12, Immokalee 3: Mallory Gerrero doubled, tripled and scored two runs to help propel Cape Coral to visctory over Immokalee Friday night.
Gerrero, who went 3-for-3, was backed by Cheyenne Krolczyk with two hits and a run as Makenzie Buss (6-2) struck out five to earn the victory.
The Seahawks (7-4) host Golden Gate on Tuesday.
Sports Editor Jim Linette contributed to this report.