LAND O’LAKES — Although Sunlake and Zephyrhills are no longer in the same district, Sunlake’s Courtney Durbin cannot forget last season’s 4A-8 opener when her top-seeded Seahawks were upset by the No. 8 Bulldogs.
That memory served Durbin and the Seahawks well Friday.
In the first extra-inning game of the season for both teams, Durbin pulled a base hit down the rightfield line to score Amber Cole in the eighth for a 6-5 win.
“It felt really good to get our revenge,” said Durbin, a senior outfielder.
Durbin’s winning hit came off reliever Emily Kiedaisch, who replaced starter Karisten Deem in the fifth.
“She had been throwing me outside (pitches), so I got a little closer to the plate,” Durbin said.
Durbin’s sister Meghan (4-0) went the distance and, according to coach Jami Finan, could have gone longer.
“She was going to go the whole game,” Finan said.
Zephyrhills (4-2) took a short-lived 1-0 lead before trailing twice by two runs. The Bulldogs tied it at 5 in the sixth on Marissa Gochenour’s two-out, two-run base hit that scored Hannah Borgemenke and Tori Jordan, who each singled.
“We had to have it,” Zephyrhills assistant Dan Muir said of that clutch hit.
Lindsey Hupp’s run-scoring single in the fifth narrowed the gap, pulling Zephyrhills within 5-3, but the Sunlake defense prevented further damage with the first of two 6-4-3 double plays.
Leading 4-2, Sunlake (6-1) extended its lead with a blast off the bat of Stephanie Frances, who lined her third home run of the season over the leftfield fence with two out.
Sunlake overcame a 1-0 deficit to score three runs in the bottom of the first by capitalizing on Zephyrhills miscues. The Seahawks had only one hit that inning, but Deem walked three and there was an error.