By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
CAPE CORAL — Aaron Martins drove in four runs and the Charlotte High School baseball team blew the game open with a seven-run fourth inning to rout Ida Baker 12-2 in a non-district match-up that ended after five innings by the mercy rule.
Charlotte remained unbeaten (4-0) as Kyle Machado went the distance for his second victory of the season. While he wasn’t completely dominant, allowing seven hits and two walks, he struck out six and again got the big outs when he needed them before letting his offense do the rest.
Matt Moise drove in both Ida Baker runs as the Bulldogs lost for the first time this season.
The result surprised even Charlotte coach Lavell Cudjo, who considered this game the first real test of the season.
“Baker always produces good pitching and they’re a disciplined team. We caught them at a time when they weren’t throwing their best,” Cudjo said.
Charlotte jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first off Ida Baker starter Jose Rodriguez. Garrett Dunson reached on an error and Shane Lemaster reached on a bunt single.
After a double steal, Martins drove home a run with a grounder to third and Kevin Conway added an RBI single.
Machado got out of a bases-loaded jam in the second and gave up four hits in the third, including an RBI single to Moise that cut the lead to 2-1.
But the Tarpons exploded in the fourth, highlighted by two-run singles from Lemaster and Martins. Conway added an RBI single to make it 9-1.
“Once we got our timing and focus back, we’re capable of hitting the way we should,” Cudjo said. “This kind of thing happens to good teams. One day, we’ll be on that end.”
The Tarpons scored three in the fifth as James Barnes had an RBI single, Martins hit a sac fly and Robert Oettinger had an infield hit to make it 12-1.
Moise hit a sac fly in the bottom of the inning to end the scoring.
Martins, the sophomore catcher, said the pitching was what they have seen before, resulting in productive at-bats.
He also has been doing the job behind the plate, preventing extra bases and picking off an Ida Baker runner to end the fourth inning.
Other than that, Martins said it’s fun catching Machado.
“Me and Kyle have been playing together since we were nine or 10. I’ve been catching him the whole time and I can tell everything he’s going to do,” Martins said.
CHARLOTTE 12, IDA BAKER 2
Charlotte 200 73 – 12 10 1
Ida Baker 001 01 – 2 7 2
WP: Kyle Machado (2-0) LP: Jose Rodriguez (1-1); Top Hitters: Aaron Martins (CH) 1-3, run, 4 RBI, Shane Lemaster 2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBI, Kevin Conway 2-3, 2 RBI, run. Records: Charlotte 4-0, Ida Baker 2-1.