Nobody does anything in Marmonte League baseball without first checking with Simi Valley High.
Think you're good? Think you have a shot? Not until the Pioneers say you do. Not until you have taken the title away from them.
Consider it all but taken.
The brash boys from Newbury Park, the guys with all the gall to do it, beat Simi Valley, 8-3, Friday at Newbury Park to move into first place, a half-game ahead of the Pioneers, whose run of three consecutive league championships is in jeopardy.
Newbury Park (17-2-3, 8-1 in league play), which defeated Simi Valley, 6-4, the first time the teams met, is the first league team to sweep a season series from the Pioneers since Camarillo in 1984.
"I don't think we doubted it for a second," Newbury Park pitcher Jeremy Dewey said. "I have confidence in our team that we can beat them with whoever's on the mound."
Dewey was thrust into the team's No. 1 role when Tim Beal was banished from the team a week ago for violating school rules. Dewey, who improved to 6-1 with his complete-game victory, pitched in and out of trouble and kept throwing curveballs. By his own account, "well more than half" of Dewey's pitches were curves.
That was by design.
"I just wanted to spot the ball, keep them off balance and make them think," he said. "Where I got in trouble is when I threw it down the middle and they just bombed it."
Dewey gave up 11 hits, including at least one in each inning but the seventh. But Simi Valley (19-3, 8-2) stranded 11 runners--10 in the first five innings.
"I think we were waiting for the three-run dinger to happen for us," Simi Valley Coach Mike Scyphers said. "And it didn't."
While the Pioneers craved the clutch hit, Newbury Park wracked Simi Valley starter Rich Langford for five hits and six runs in three innings.
Already leading, 3-1, the Panthers scored five runs in the fourth after Langford walked the bases loaded with none out. He was replaced by left-hander Kenny Hood, whose second pitch to left-hander Eric Greene was whacked into the gap in right-center field. All three runners scored on the triple.
Greene came home on Geoff Black's single and Black scored on Brian Smith's grounder to give Newbury Park an 8-1 lead.
Newbury Park Coach Gary Fabricius said that his hitters wanted a look at Langford, who had an earned-run average of 0.50 entering the game.
"They were looking forward to him, that's how confident they are," he said. "They wanted to see how good they are.
"This group has been loose all year, and there was no reason to change now with the league championship on the line."
Newbury Park nicked Langford in the first inning when Danny Madsen, who singled in each of his first three at-bats, scored Greene from third. The Pioneers tied it in the third, 1-1, on Greg Santos' run-scoring single.
Madsen and Wayne Cook singled home runs in the third to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead.
Mike Jenkins' two-run single in the fifth was all Simi Valley could muster in the way of a comeback.
Dewey pitched to only seven batters in the final two innings and struck out the last three he faced in the seventh--all on curves in the dirt.