LAND O'LAKES — Her combination of words might one day be etched into the bats of future Nature Coast players.
Whatever Cera Nelson said Friday night helped Nature Coast in a 13-5 win at Sunlake, resulting in the most runs scored by the Sharks in two seasons.
Word is she is being recruited to help sell the health care bill on Capitol Hill.
Okay, maybe not. But her teammates were willing to listen to anything to help unearth the heart of a team expected to compete with the best in Class 4A, District 8.
The turning point of Nature Coast's season might someday be traced back to the finely manicured fields of Sunlake.
"I think we're sick of playing how we've been playing," Nature Coast coach Mettina Couet said. "Our seniors realized this is our last chance. … It looks like we're ready to turn it on."
In the middle of it all were the seniors: Jen Marshall, Ashley Antczak, Lizzy Olmstead, Mikayla Miller and Nelson.
Each of them had at least one hit and an RBI. Marshall led with four RBIs, Nelson had three and Antczak and junior Nikki Beverley each had two.
Nelson had a pair of doubles while Antczak and Beverley each had one. Olmstead and Beverley each scored three times.
The explosion of offense gave Nature Coast (7-4) every run it would need by the third inning with a 5-1 lead.
The Seahawks (8-6) scraped together a three-run third inning, capped by a two-run error off the bat of Tyler Riendeau to cut it to 5-4.
Olmstead kept the offense going with an RBI single in the fourth inning followed by a sacrifice bunt by Marshall to go ahead 7-4. The offense picked up in the sixth with five runs on five hits, including a pair of doubles.
"Cera really reset our heads," Marshall said. "She said we need a fresh start and to stay pumped up. … She's keeping that speech and we're using the same one."
In the district race, the win pulls the Sharks even with the Seahawks for fourth place with plenty of games left.
"As long as we keep our heads high and don't worry about losses we'll be fine," Marshall said. "We just have to keep moving along."
Izzy Gould can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 421-3886.