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Ida Baker softball team ends skid with 18-3 win over Mariner

By CJ HADDAD - | Apr 7, 2021

MICHAEL PISTELLA / mpistella@breezenewspapers.com Ida Baker freshman Julianna Nieves (16) hit a home run during the Bulldogs' 18-3 win over Mariner Tuesday night. To view more photos from the game, see the Cape Coral Breeze Facebook page.

The Ida Baker softball team snapped a five-game skid Tuesday night at home, defeating Mariner 18-3 in a shortened affair. The strong offensive output from the Bulldogs was backed by two homers from freshman twins Julianna and Makayla Nieves.

Freshman Oliviah Sylwestrak was solid in the circle for Ida Baker (8-6), tossing three innings of two-hit ball, allowing three runs, walking four and hitting three batters.

“We’ve just been pushing and pushing and working really hard on our hitting and bunting – they just knew it was going to come. It just took a little patience and some teamwork, and they put it all together tonight. I was very proud of them,” said Ida Baker head coach Heidi Bearman.

It the way Tritons (3-10) who got off to a hot start to open the game as sophomore standout Katie Campbell launched a two-run homer to left that cleared the fence by a comfortable margin. Campbell finished 1-for-2 with the homer, two RBI and a walk to go along with a solid performance behind the plate.

“She’s probably the best catcher in the state of Florida, and one of the best hitters,” said Mariner head coach Rachel Holloway. “She’s been great. She’s our source of offense. She’s only a sophomore so there’s a bright future.”

MICHAEL PISTELLA / mpistella@breezenewspapers.com Ida Baker freshman Oliviah Sylwestrak (11) held Mariner to three runs during the Bulldogs' 18-3 win over Mariner Tuesday night. To view more photos from the game, see the Cape Coral Breeze Facebook page.

The Bulldogs would turn their first of two double plays of the game to get out of the first and wasted no time putting the bats to work. They sent 10 batters to the plate and pushed across four runs including a Makayla Nieves two-run opposite-field shot to right.

Mariner’s Laila Jones collected an RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the top of the second, but a third, to home, to first double play ended the threat once again.

Ida Baker would score four more in the bottom half of the inning, highlighted by an Adriana Przespolewski (3-for-4, 3 RBI, inside-the-park home run) RBI single.

Ida Baker went on to score five in the third and fourth innings respectively to end the game early. “Everybody was just on it,” Bearman said. “Our pitchers performed well. Our infield was on it. There was lots of communication – that’s another thing we’ve been working really hard with is talking in the outfield, also infield, and then cross-communication. I think that made a really big difference tonight.”

First baseman Julianna Nieves tattooed a two-run homer to left in the third to match her sister, and narrowly missed a second in the fifth by a foot.

“They actually have a lot of experience,” Bearman said of the freshman twins. “A lot of our freshman and sophomores have played travel ball since they were young and have grown up together playing. The twins themselves have played travel ball on state championship teams, national teams. They bring a lot of experience and have great hitting skills.”

Ida Baker has quite a young squad, carrying 11 underclassman, three juniors and just one senior. Sophomore Hannah McGlade scored four runs and collected two hits and two RBI from the leadoff spot for the Lady Bulldogs. Przespolewski is a sophomore, as is Alana Hutchinson, two went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored Tuesday night. Junior Emma Fleming turned in a 3-for-4 performance with two RBI.

“I’m really proud of them because not one time did I see them give in or give up, they were focused the whole game,” Bearman said. “We’ve been working on double plays galore in practice, so I’m really happy when they can actually execute and put it into play in a game situation.”

A tough year for the Lady Tritons comes after losing seven seniors and is a bit of an aberration for Holloway, who has led her last five teams to regional appearances.

“We’re rebuilding this year and it’s been tough,” Holloway said. “There have been a few ups and a lot of downs. It’s a process. You have those years we have to rebuild and hopefully next year we can get better.”

— Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj