EAST LAKE — Nothing makes a coach happier than to have a team that listens.
Northeast’s Rob Stanifer saw his “win no matter who we play” attitude put to a stern test Friday night when perennial power East Lake nudged across the game’s first run on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the sixth inning.
But being three outs from a revenge loss with fireballing starter Brad Deppermann breezing did nothing to weaken the resolve of the visiting Vikings.
“I was like, ‘They score one, we’ll score more,’ ” said Northeast starter Colton Tison, and his offense backed him up with a seven-run seventh, a 7-3 victory, a series sweep and the top spot in Class 7A, District 9.
“In years past, we had decent teams but just couldn’t pull out wins,” Stanifer said. “This year, they believe in themselves and fight to the last out and good things are happening for us.”
That fight earned the Vikings (8-4, 4-1) a 2-1 late-February win over the Eagles (9-3, 4-2) despite just two hits and 11 strikeouts. And Friday, in the seventh, the first seven Northeast batters reached base and the pressure cracked an East Lake defense that had turned two double plays.
With the bases loaded, Angelo Terrasi’s hit down the leftfield line scored Bret Maxwell (two hits, two stolen bases) and Drew Vimond (RBI single). Will Condon scooted home when the ball eluded the leftfielder, and when the catcher’s throw to third trying to get Terrasi went astray, the senior scored.
“I tried to do what I was doing all game, stay compact and go with the pitch,” Terrasi said. “We were up all game. We knew it was going to be tough.”
Tison eased to the complete-game victory, striking out 11 and allowing seven hits.
“We just wanted to come here and show that these Vikings are here to win districts,” the junior lefty said. “That’s what we’re going to do all season.”