Pitching kept Cape Coral out front in District 5A-12.
The Seahawks nipped arch-rival Mariner 2-0 Friday night at Mariner for their eighth straight victory.
Cape (10-3, 8-0 district) solidified its lead over Mariner (10-3, 7-2) by sweeping the season series. Both games have been nail-biters, 2-1 and 2-0.
Cape Coral’s Scottie Dudas starts his swing during Friday’s game against Mariner.
More photos are available online at: cu.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com.
Seahawks pitchers have given up a total of two runs during the team's eight-game winning streak.
"Our pitching, we couldn't be more happy with how it's gone the entire year," Seahawks coach Mike Gorton said. "Guys are just attacking hitters and when bad things happen they don't let it get to them. I guess it's in their makeup. They're just bulldogs on the mound."
The game turned on a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Tritons got their first three runners on with a single, a hit batsman and a dropped fly ball in the outfield. Junior left-hander Shane McClendon (4-0) retired the next three batters to get out of the jam.
"It just comes down to little things," Tritons coach Tom Woodley said. "We didn't execute when we had to. Bases loaded, nobody out, couldn't get a run in. We definitely had our chances."
Cape scored the game's only runs in the sixth inning. Robert Becker singled with one out. An out later, Scott Dudas reached on a hard-hit ball to second with Becker scoring from second base. Matt Richey doubled to score Dudas.
"We're swinging the bats better," Gorton said. "Those games we lost the first of the year we just couldn't hit. We've worked hard on it and they're coming into their own hitting-wise. You've got guys who are studying the pitch counts. It's nice to see that getting better each game."
The Tritons left runners stranded at third base in the first and fourth innings, and had runners cut down at third to end threats in the fifth and sixth innings.
"A couple of times we ran ourselves right out of an inning," Woodley said. "That's something we've got to take care of in-house, and we'll do that."
McClanahan struck out seven in five innings. Jose Valmana pitched the last two innings for a save.
Hard-luck loser Luis Ferrer (3-2) allowed only three hits and a walk in seven innings.
"When it comes down to it you've got to want it," Woodley said. "They wanted it. They did a great job of battling when they had to. Their lefty McClanahan threw the ball well. We couldn't figure him out. We just didn't want it bad enough is what it comes down to."
"Going into this game, you know, it's going to be a one-run (game)," Gorton said. "You're going to fight the entire seven innings or more than that. You've got to prepare your team mentally to do that. If not, then that's when bad things happen.
"It's always going to be like that. When we face them in districts (tournament) it's the exact same thing. It's nice to get on top and hopefully stay on top, but a couple of years ago Gulf Coast had a team like 25-0. They go to the first round of districts and lose. See you later. Thanks for coming. The job's not over. It's not done."
Gorton said Seahawks senior pitcher Luke Spangler is seeking medical advice.
Spangler, who overcame a serious injury a year ago and signed a letter-of-intent to play at the University of Miami, has only made one pitching appearance this season.
"He's getting looked at. He's getting a second opinion, stuff like that. I don't know exactly 100 percent what's going on. One guy says one thing, another guy says another," said Gorton. "He's going to the best doctors. We're just going to wait and let them see where it goes."
Cape Coral 000 002 0 2 3 2?
Mariner 000 000 0 0 3 0?
WP - McClanahan (4-0). LP - Ferrer (3-2). S - Valmana (1).
2B- Richey, Ferrer.
Cape Coral 12, Mariner 2: Makenzie Buss got three extra-base hits in three official at-bats Friday night to help boost Cape Coral to a five-inning victory at Mariner.
Buss had two doubles and a triple and scored three runs. As winning pitcher, she improved to 9-2 on the season.
Ally Slaughter, Heather Dubay and Cheyenne Krolczyk each contributed two hits to the win. Slaughter drove in four runs with a pair of doubles while Dubay doubled and drove in one run. Krolczk scored twice.
The Seahawks (9-4) are idle until after the spring break on March 25 at Dunbar.
Sports editor Jim Linette contributed to this report.