Big first inning helps North roll over Ida Baker, 15-0
By time the top of the first inning ended, the North Fort Myers High School baseball team had sent 13 batters to the plate and pushed across 8 runs on the road against Ida Baker Thursday night.
The Red Knights, behind an explosive offensive output and dominant pitching performance from senior Logan Wilsker, shut out the Bulldogs 15-0 in a four-inning affair. North takes the three-game series 2-1 to move above .500 (9-8), one in which they outscored its opponent 30-12.
“Our approach is a lot better at the plate, we’re not expanding the zone. We changed our focus a bit and challenged our players to live up to their potential,” said North head coach Mark Rose. “I tell each one of them if all you can give me is ‘X’ — that’s what I expect, nothing more. But it sure can’t be less.”
The first eight Red Knight batters reached and eventually scored, highlighted by two-RBI singles courtesy of sophomore Domininc Rendon and junior Gavin Hause.
Ida Baker freshman Janiel Peguerro would come in to relieve starter Andrew Gardner in the first and was able to stop the bleeding for a few innings before North would get to the right-hander.
“Tonight we just didn’t have it. The first two games of the series were competitive but we came out flat and they took advantage of it,” said Bulldog head coach Dan Holloway. “For (Peguerro) to be able come into a spot like that and kind of minimize the deficit and the damage that had been done, it’s a good sign for the future of the program.”
Wilsker was nearly spotless for the Red Knights in the shortened outing, allowing just three hits over four innings, striking out four along the way. The first, third and fourth were all 1-2-3 innings for the tall lefty. He did allow three consecutive singles with one out in the second but got a double play from his defense on a line drive to left to get him out of the jam. He also contributed at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Rose had high praise for Wilsker, who features a solid fastball, breaking ball and change-up.
“I’ve seen every guy in this district, and there’s some great pitchers in this district – I’d put him up with anybody,” Rose said. “His stuff – he’s not going to blow you away, but he mixes it up, he throws three pitches for a strike in any count – his change-up is lethal. It’s nice to roll a guy out there and just have confidence he’s going to keep us in the game. He just battles.”
North ballooned its lead with a six-run output in the fourth, sending double-digit batters to the plate once again. Centerfielder Blake Busbee (2-for-4, 3 RBI) would double home two runs, as would pinch hitter Thomas Eisiminger, taking a 3-0 count fastball down the left field line. Sophomore second baseman Garry Kamphouse also had a solid night for North, going 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and a stolen base. Other than producing 10 hits, North drew five walks and reached base four times via a hit batsman. “We’ve had great patience at the plate, doing a great job base running, we’ve been stealing all over the place. They’re believing in the system,” Rose said. “It’s just battling every at bat, not giving anything cheap and expanding the zone fouling stuff off, making them have to get us out. We put the defense on pressure and make them make the plays. We were capitalizing all night tonight.”
North begins a three-game series with Island Coast (13-4) on Tuesday, while Ida Baker (4-13) starts a three-game set with Mariner (8-8), also on Tuesday.
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