Ida Baker opened strong and sharp like a contender for the District 6A-13 softball championship should.
Unfortunately, it only lasted three innings as district third-seed Riverdale refused to go away and claimed a 9-2 victory Wednesday night in the semifinal round at Baker.
Bulldogs pitcher Maddy Peres, who struck out six of the first nine batters she faced, lost her control in the fourth as the defense lapsed behind her.
Ida Baker pitcher Maddy Peres reacts during Riverdale's four-run rally in the fourth inning Wednesday night.
Trailing 2-0, the Raiders scored four runs in the fourth without the benefit of a base hit. Peres only went to a three-ball count on one of the first 10 batters, but walked two Raiders around three Bulldogs' throwing errors in the inning. The Raiders did not get their first base hit off Peres until the sixth inning, when the outcome already was decided.
"I think their first six runs were all unearned," said Bulldogs coach Jim Schlotter. "It got pretty sloppy after the fourth."
Once the Raiders got to the fourth inning, they stole eight bases over the last four innings, including five in the fourth-inning rally.
After retiring the first 10 batters in a row, Peres only sat down the Raiders in order in one of the last four innings. She finished with 14 strikeouts, three walks, hit one batter and gave up five hits.
To the contrary, Raiders pitcher Riley Caylor weathered the Bulldogs' two-run first inning until the offense caught fire. Caylor retired the Bulldogs (13-9) in order four of the last five innings. Baker had three hits and one walk after the first inning. Caylor finished with one strikeout, one walk and scattered a total of six hits.
"Riverdale is a scrappy team and they come to play," said Schlotter. "If you give them a chance, they'll get you, like any good team."
The Raiders advance to the championship game on Friday against No. 1 seed Fort Myers, which disposed of South Fort Myers 14-0 in five innings in the earlier semifinal game Wednesday night.
Riverdale 000 402 3 - 9 5 0
Ida Baker 200 000 0 - 2 6 4
W - Caylor. L - Peres.
2B - Kane (IB).
Ida Baker 2, Bishop Verot 1: Sean Brady allowed one run and one base hit while striking out 14 over seven innings Wednesday night as Ida Baker clipped Bishop Verot in eight innings.
Ryan Erhardt singled to drive in the Bulldogs' first run in the third inning. He drew a walk ahead of Brady (intentional) in the eighth. With two out, Zack Nason delivered the game-winning run with a single to finish it.
Brady contributed two of the Bulldogs' eight base hits and Tanner Renegar had the game's only extra-base hit, a double.
The Bulldogs (18-4) play a rematch Thursday night at Bishop Verot to close out the regular season.
Bishop Verot 000 001 00 - 1 1 0
Ida Baker 001 000 01 - 2 8 0
W - Larrimore. L - Stefanacci.
2B - Renegar (IB).
Mariner High School senior Alejandra Muro-Solis will sign an athletic scholarship to play soccer with St. Leo University on Friday at a ceremony in the school cafeteria.
At the same time, Jacob Martin, a two-year-letterman, will sign for baseball with Rhodes State University.
Muro-Solis is a four-year letterman. She was selected to the All-LCAC team for 2013 and tied the Tritons record for most assists in a single game with four.
Four senior football players at Ida Baker are signing scholarships on Friday at the school.
Jacob Affourtit is bound for Fitchburg State University; Jeremy Betts signs with Saint Anselm University; Josh Dubas is going with Fitchburg State University; and Brian Johnson signs with Peru State University.