Deric Yanagisawa had preached patience to his Fountain Valley High baseball team early Thursday afternoon, just before the Barons were to take on rival Edison in the Sunset League and regular-season finale for both teams.
Two days earlier, Fountain Valley's usually potent offense had been shut out for just the second time this season, a 1-0, eight-inning loss to Edison that had cost the Barons sole possession of first place in the league title chase.
"It's all about patience," Yanagisawa said after Thursday's showdown. "I told the kids [Thursday] that we would not change what we do on offense. We hit the ball well Tuesday but generally, it was right at someone.
"The game of baseball has a way of evening things out. I told the kids to stay patient, and things will start to happen."
For three innings, thing weren't happening for the Barons who again, were putting the ball in play offensively but with nothing to show for it. That is, until the top of the fourth inning.
Daniel Patzlaff's bases-clearing double in the fourth highlighted a six-run inning for Fountain Valley and triggered an eventual, 9-2 victory that clinched a Sunset League co-championship for the defending league champions.
The Barons, ranked third in CIF Southern Section Division 1, had trailed, 1-0, through three innings. They put up three more runs in the fifth, and cruised the rest of the way.
Fountain Valley shares the 2014 Sunset title with fourth-ranked Huntington Beach which went to Los Alamitos Thursday and took an 8-6 victory from the Griffins.
The Barons and Oilers both completed league play with 13-2 records.
Both of Huntington's league losses came to Fountain Valley two weeks ago.
The Barons' two league losses are to Huntington and Edison.
In the other Sunset League finale Thursday, Marina suffered a 4-1 home loss to Newport Harbor.
In a Golden West League finale Thursday, Ocean View edged visiting Orange, 5-4.
"This is awesome," Yanagisawa said of Fountain Valley's repeat league title. "The kids worked so hard all year, and they deserve it, as does our coaching staff (Mark Wishek, Chris Sorce, Garrett McFaul) which also has worked extremely hard.
"This is a good group of kids, a lot of them three-year varsity guys who deserve to go out like this."
Edison, which finished 9-6 in league, good for third place which gives the Chargers an automatic berth to next week's CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs, had taken its only lead, 1-0, on a home run by No. 3 hitter Brian Schales. The senior worked his way back from an 0-2 count and sent a 2-2 hanging breaking ball from Fountain Valley ace Scott Schultz, off the bottom-left side of the scoreboard in center field.
It would be one, and the biggest, of only three hits Schultz would give up in his five innings on the mound. The senior struck out seven to keep his record perfect at 13-0. Schultz, who also has three saves, was relieved by senior Joey Loranger who threw to five batters in the top of the fifth and loaded the bases before he was replaced by junior Hunter Margain who closed the game.
Edison, meanwhile, sent five pitchers to the mound, using three of them in the first 3 1/3 innings. The Chargers did get out of a bases-loaded jam unscathed in the top of the third, and still held a 1-0 advantage heading into the fourth.
Through three innings Thursday and dating to Tuesday's game, Fountain Valley had been held scoreless for 11 innings against the Chargers. That changed drastically in the top of the fourth.
Barons clean-up hitter Brock Lundquist drew a lead-off walk to start the inning. One out later, Justin Cobb singled through the left side of the infield and Junior Aguilar followed Cobb with a single through the right side of the infield to load the bases. Edison starter Jason McLellan was taken out and replaced by Kaz Akamatsu whose first pitch hit Justin Brand in the thigh, forcing Lundquist in with the tying run.
After a force out at home on a grounder back to the mound for the second out, Patzlaff, Fountain Valley's lead-off hitter, came to the plate. He ripped his first pitch from Akamatsu into right field, the ball taking one hop and careening off the wall. His double drove in three runs and the Barons had a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Patzlaff went on to score on a wild pitch to JT Navarro who then scored on a single into right field by Willie Aguilar. Suddenly, the Barons, who went through their order in the fourth, were up comfortably, 6-1.
"It definitely felt great when I hit that ball," said Patzlaff, a four-year starter at shortstop who hit his fourth double in the two-game series this week with Edison. "I knew we would get rolling after that."
Fountain Valley (19-7 overall) increased its lead to 9-1 in the fifth. Lundquist had a lead-off single and Dillon Persinger followed with a double to right field. An out later, Junior Aguilar drove a 1-2 pitch up the middle, his single bringing in both runners. Aguilar later scored on a high-hop single by Patzlaff.
Edison (18-9) scored its final run in the sixth. Senior Philip Knapp hit a lead-off double off Loranger and scored on an RBI single to center by Schales. The Chargers loaded the bases with one out, but Margain came in to get the final two outs.
Margain also sent the Chargers down in order in the bottom of the seventh, ending the game on a strikeout.
The Barons then rushed the mound for their dog pile celebration.
"To go out as back-to-back league champs is just a good feeling," Patzlaff said. "Our team worked hard for this."
The CIF Southern Section baseball playoff pairings will be released Monday. Wild-card games are at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday (Division 2, 4, 6) and Wednesday (Division 1, 3, 5, 7). First-round games are at 3:15 p.m. May 23.
The CIF Southern Section Division 1, 2 and 3 championship games are June 6 at Dodger Stadium.
"We will enjoy this [championship] for a few days, then get ready for CIF," Yanagisawa said.
Oilers, Vikings co-champs in Sunset softball
On the final day of the Sunset League softball season Thursday, the title chase ended in a co-championship between Huntington Beach and Marina.
Huntington, which clinched no worse than a tie Tuesday for its first league title in 18 years, was upended, 1-0, at Los Alamitos. Marina, one game behind the Oilers in the league standings heading into Thursday, routed visiting Newport Harbor, 12-0. The win, coupled with Huntington's loss to Los Al, gave the Vikings a portion of the title.
Both Huntington (21-5 overall) and defending champion Marina (22-6) finished league play with 8-2 records.
The Oilers, ranked fifth in CIF Southern Section Division 1, and Vikings, ranked sixth, will compete next week in the playoffs. The division pairings will be released Saturday.