LAND O’LAKES — It had been six years since Sunlake had beaten Land O’Lakes in softball.
During that span, the Seahawks were fortunate to even manage a run against one of their fiercest rivals. Last season’s loss was the first time Sunlake scored in four meetings.
Seahawks coach Nelson Garcia knew the history well.
On Monday, he was determined not to repeat it.
Garcia spent the past few days developing a game plan to generate offense against Gators ace Callie Turner.
In the first inning, Sunlake scored a run. The next inning, the Seahawks added another. In the third, they scored two more.
That was all Sunlake needed in a 4-1 victory that finally snapped the losing streak against its biggest nemesis.
“This is very big,” Garcia said. “Anytime you can beat Land O’Lakes it’s a great thing because they’re awesome. Callie (Turner) is phenomenal. They’ve got some players that are great, and the coaches are, too.”
Seahawks sophomore Mikayla Hoschak outdueled Turner, allowing two hits and striking out five. The only hit that did any damage was a solo homer by Nehanda Lewis that gave the Gators (18-3) a 1-0 lead.
Sunlake (15-2) tied it up in the first inning on an RBI single that brought home Shea Forgas. An inning later, the Seahawks took the lead for good when Daisy McQuain stole home. They added some insurance in the third when Jenna Gabrielli hit a two-run triple.
“Our bats and our defense are strong,” Garcia said. “But the key for us is our pitchers. They keep us in games. That’s how we win.”
The win stretched Sunlake’s win streak to 13. But the Seahawks are not going to be satisfied with an impressive record in the regular season.
Last year, Sunlake was 23-1 before losing its last two games, in the district final and region quarterfinals.
“This was a nice one, but we still have work to do,” Garcia said.