NEW PORT RICHEY — The Seahawks entered Friday's game as the obvious underdog. They lost their first game of the season by 10 runs to River Ridge.
They didn't repeat the early-season mistakes that caused their early loss. Sunlake defeated the Royal Knights, 3-2, with runs in the sixth and seventh innings to catch up and take the win.
"We cleaned up the field," Sunlake coach Dick Rohrberg said.
The victory gave the Seahawks (5-3, 5-3) a chance to climb in Class 5A, District 8. The district is talent heavy, with three other teams, including River Ridge (5-3, 5-2), boasting five or more wins.
The Seahawks fell to Fivay this week to fall from a tie for second place, but now the district is shaken up again.
Sunlake pitcher Ryan Talburt (2-0) was key, Rohrberg said. Both of the Royal Knights' runs were unearned, and Talburt gave up just six hits.
"He really did a great job of shutting them down," Rohrberg said.
River Ridge pitcher Tyler Hawks (1-1) gave the Seahawks reason to be nervous. The senior had a 1.85 ERA in 11.1 innings going into Friday, and he helped keep the score low.
Rohrberg said Sunlake was able to earn enough runs to sneak by, but not because the River Ridge defense ever let up.
The Seahawks got on the scoreboard first. The Royal Knights pulled out a run in the third to tie it, and both teams hit a dry spell for the next two innings. When both scored in the sixth, it looked like the game was headed into extra innings.
Sunlake star David Castillo scored in the bottom of the seventh, pulling out the last-minute run.
Rohrberg said the Seahawks made a few basic mistakes that need to be corrected. They struggled to score, and against a team as talented as River Ridge, any mistake could end the game.
"We just need to get better at that, as a team," Rohrberg said.