For Ida Baker, the third time facing Island Coast was no charm. They can only hope perhaps the fourth time might. If both Baker and Island Coast win their Region 6A-4 quarterfinal games Wednesday night there would be a rematch in the semifinal round next week.
The Gators (16-8) are at home Wednesday against Gulf Coast in the regional quarterfinals while Baker (19-6) travels to Naples.
The Gators beat the Bulldogs both times they met in the District 6A-13 regular season. The Bulldogs were hoping to avenge those defeats in Friday's district championship game at South Fort Myers, but the Gators claimed the title with a 5-2 victory.
Ida Baker senior Sean Brady and his Bulldog teammates will face Naples tonight at 7 in the Region 6A-4 quarterfinals. More photos are available online at: cu.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com.
Sometimes it's not how far or how hard you hit the ball.
The Gators won despite getting just one base hit past the infield.
"We work hard at our small ball, and it worked tonight," Gators coach Clint Montgomery said. "We had three or four bunt hits, we moved runners over.
"They're a good club. They get a lot of strikeouts. They're a tough club to score off swinging away so we had to do those things. The guys executed well.
"When you're playing a good team like Ida Baker you need all the help you can get. We took advantage of it and came out on top," said Montgomery.
Trailing 2-0, the Gators scored four runs in the bottom of the second on two bunt hits, an infield hit and four walks.
Bulldogs starter Tanner Renegar gave up bases-loaded walks to Christian Diaz and Kiarron Aiken before F.T. Corso (1-for-2, 2 RBI) singled off Renegar's glove for a two-run infield hit. Renegar allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings.
"I think they hit the ball hard one time the whole game," Bulldogs coach Bob Vandeventer said. "Other than that, they executed, they were smarter than us tonight. We hit the ball better than we had against them all season, but right at somebody. They made the plays and they were smarter. They executed their bunts, we didn't.
"It was one of those games. I don't think, no matter what we did, we were going to win tonight."
Billy Larrimore pitched 4 2/3 innings in relief for Baker, giving up a run without a hit in the fourth inning. Nicholas Rodri-guez's bases-loaded walk pushed home the run. Larrimore struck out nine and walked four.
Meanwhile, Kameron Gellinger pitched four innings in relief of Corso to earn the win. Corso gave up single runs in the first and second innings, got out of a first-and-third jam in the third and left the game after allowing the first two runners to reach in the fourth inning.
"Kameron has been our closer for three years and he's only pitched four innings his season (before Friday)," Montgomery said. "So that was by far his longest outing of the year. Corso has pitched well for us all year. That was probably the shortest outing for him. That was not his best stuff tonight."
Gellinger held the Bulldogs two hits and no walks in four innings, striking out two.
"I told the guys that the only way this loss gets worse is if we let it fester and let it carry over against Naples," said Vandeventer. "We played Naples earlier this year. We beat them, probably played one of our best games against them. We come out and do that Wednesday, this loss goes away pretty quick."
Meanwhile, Montgomery said of Gulf Coast that, "It's always good to come back to The Slough. We play well there. I think we're 8-1 on the season there. Our only loss came to Gulf Coast, so we've got to try to exact some revenge."
Ia Baker 110 000 0 - 2 6 0
Island Coast 020 100 x - 5 4 1
W - Gellinger. L - Renegar.