Battery Creek baseball coach Dan Tooman issued the decree loud enough to have plenty of witnesses.
He placed responsibility for Friday's home game with Bluffton High School on his seniors, told them the Dolphins would not make the playoffs without a victory. And when three Battery Creek seniors led off the final inning, they knew what was on the line.
The Dolphins split with the Bobcats in 2011 and missed the playoffs. Down a run entering the bottom of the seventh Friday, the Dolphins rallied, winning 7-6 when Zach Mahan successfully executed a squeeze bunt to score Rusty Willman.
"We were ready for that," said senior first baseman Tommy Hill.
Battery Creek (5-10 overall, 3-4 Region 7-AAA) swept the Bobcats and kept hope alive for a playoff berth. Bluffton, which defeated Hilton Head High this past week, dropped to 2-4 in region play.
The winning sequence was the result of repetition in practice, players said.
Hill reached to lead off the bottom half of the inning and was replaced by pinch runner Dustyn Velez. Willman drove in Velez to tie the game. Another base hit and a hit by pitch set up Mahan's big spot.
Mahan, only a sophomore stepping in for his first at-bat of the game, wanted to let the bunt die between Bluffton pitcher Jake Martin and catcher Weston Gillespie, to give Willman enough time to race home.
"(Tooman) called it and then called it off, said find some green," Mahan said. "Then he went back to it. I just had to execute."
The bunt worked, in part due to the 30 minutes spent practicing the technique earlier in the week. Tooman said coaches identified Mahan as one whose fundamentals could be trusted in such a situation.
Bluffton had taken the lead in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly. The Bobcats, down early after the Dolphins' five-run first inning, rallied in the second behind Michael Grant's leadoff home run.
But the Dolphins rediscovered their bats. They travel to the Bobcats' spring break tournament next week before returning for the closing stretch of region play. The sweep of Bluffton will give the Dolphins the edge in case of a tiebreaker.
Bluffton coach Bryant Kitty declined comment Friday, saying the game spoke for itself. His team will host several area teams during next week's tournament.
Battery Creek's tournament schedule includes Class 4-A foes Beaufort High and Summerville.
"We're definitely going to get challenged," Tooman said. "I requested the tough teams, because I want us to get better. And I don't think you get better by playing down."
Battery Creek 7, Bluffton 6
Bluffton 130 100 1-- 6 8 1
Battery Creek 500 000 2-- 7 8 0
WP: Shane Dixon (2-0) 7 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 3K, BB
LP: Jake Martin 1-3 IP, 2 H, R, HBP
Hitters: Bluffton -- Michael Grant 2 for 3, HR; Weston Gillespie 2 for 3, 2B, R. Battery Creek: Dustin Spurlock 2 for 2, HBP; Rusty Willman 2 for 4, 2 R.