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Focused Vikings: We're not letting up this year

ST. PETERSBURG — Northeast's win streak reached seven games Wednesday, but who's counting? The Vikings seem neither aware nor concerned about the surrounding elements.

They are winning and little else matters.

In the aftermath of a 5-4 decision over Pinellas Park, the players helped rake the field and pick up sunflower seeds. When they spoke, it was with a keen sense that everything would happen as it did: timely pitching, clutch hitting, another victory.

Brent Brockman's single in the sixth inning brought Northeast back against the Patriots. After that, closer James Gray relieved Noel Thomas in the seventh and got the last three outs, striking out one batter and getting another to hit into a double play.

"We're not letting up this year," Thomas said. "We're picking each other up on the field. That's what helped us get off to such a fast start."

Last season, the Vikings started unevenly before getting hot at the end. But it was too late. Northeast couldn't keep the momentum going in the district tournament and missed the playoffs.

This past summer, former Largo coach Rob Stanifer was hired to replace Eric Wagman, who resigned. Stanifer inherited a team that returned 11 seniors.

"This strong start isn't that much of a surprise to me," Stanifer said. "I knew this was a good team and they played well in the fall.

"Coach Wagman did an excellent job with them. The only thing I might have brought was a little more attitude and swagger."

The confidence builder came in the season opener against Clearwater when the Vikings exploded for 19 runs. The next game Northeast rallied with three runs in the sixth inning to pull away from a close game with Shorecrest.

"That Clearwater game showed us what we can do with a team effort," outfielder Tim Deacon said. "We had timely hits and took advantage of other teams' mistakes."

Focused Vikings: We're not letting up this year 03/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 4, 2010 11:19pm]
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