THOUSAND OAKS VS. WESTLAKE : Westlake Ends Eight Years of Frustration With Victory Over Thousand Oaks

To hear Westlake Coach Dennis Judd tell it, Friday's victory was felt throughout the entire city.

Since Westlake High opened its doors in 1979, the Warriors had never won a baseball game from Conejo Valley rival Thousand Oaks.

To make matters even worse, the most recent defeat at the end of last season ruined the team's chance for its first-ever playoff berth.

That drought ended Friday afternoon as Westlake took out eight years of frustration in a 40-minute, eight-run fifth inning en route to an 11-3 Marmonte League victory over the visiting Lancers.

Judd is in his first year with the program, inheriting a team that placed fifth in the league last year. The year before, Westlake was 2-22, so hard times had been a way of life for the Warriors.

"I'm really happy for our kids and our school and it gives the community something to believe in," Judd said.

Junior left-handed pitcher Greg Struhl (1-1) earned the victory even though he wasn't included in the original starting lineup. Right-hander Bob Grandpre was slated to pitch, but Judd made a last-minute change and Struhl responded with a four-hit complete game.

Thousand Oaks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on designated hitter Ed Hall's solo home run to left field. After Westlake forged a 2-1 lead, Thousand Oaks pushed across two runs in the third inning on an error, a walk, and run-scoring hits from right fielder Gus Nelinger and pitcher Chris Newman to take a 3-2 lead.

Struhl's fourth-inning homer tied the game, and Westlake broke the tie by battering three Thousand Oaks pitchers for eight hits in the fifth-inning rally. The big inning started auspiciously with back-to-back home runs from catcher Jim Henderson and first baseman Jim Robertson. Designated hitter Brad Gossen followed with a triple to deep center and Struhl hit a run-scoring double.

"Man, that's just hard to believe," Judd said about the consecutive extra-base hits. "I don't think I've ever seen that before."

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