Cary Crouch told his Laguna Hills softball players to leave their Southern Section championship paraphernalia at home. No more reminders of the past because the future was slipping away.
"We thought, because we won last year, we would win this year without performing," Crouch said Tuesday. "This team needed to develop its own identity and stop living off the past."
Laguna Hills continued that development with a 3-2 eight-inning victory over second-place Trabuco Hills (11-10, 7-2), clinching a share of the Pacific Coast League title for the fifth time in six years, including four in a row. The victory also avenged a 1-0 loss in which Trabuco Hills stopped the Hawks' 31-game PCL winning streak despite Therese Lee's no-hitter.
"That loss showed us we had to focus on the present," said Alycia Stevens, who had three hits. "We were thinking that this league wasn't (very good), that we could be mediocre and still win. That loss to Trabuco Hills opened our eyes."
Lee (8-5) again bridled the Mustangs. She was perfect through five innings, then a walk and a two-out single by Theresa Summa tied the game in the sixth. She finished with a one-hitter and walked three.
Laguna Hills (13-9-1, 8-1) scored twice in the top of the eighth, on catcher Kim Yankie's three-base throwing error, an infield single, a fielder's choice scoring Kristy Klein, and Misty Thompson's RBI grounder.
The Hawks took a 1-0 lead in the third on Amber Journell's RBI double.
In another Pacific Coast League games:
Costa Mesa 4, Laguna Beach 3 (8)--Jennifer Long's two-out double scored Tabby Cleveland with the winning run in the eighth for host Costa Mesa (11-9, 6-3). Long had two hits, and Niki Montgomery (9-6) pitched a three-hitter, striking out three.