The hitting was dreadful. The pitching miserable. The defense giving.
So Riverside J.W. North made the obvious change before the playoffs began: its uniforms.
Switching from their regular jerseys to their batting practice shirts, the Huskies went through the five-game playoffs, beating Cerritos Gahr, 5-2, Saturday night at Blair Field in Long Beach to win their first Southern Section Division II baseball title before 1,012.
"It's more like a coincidence," Husky second baseman Adam Kennedy said about winning with the new shirts. "Tonight everything came through."
Pat Hachee's RBI triple in the top of the fifth inning gave North (18-11) a 3-2 lead.
Ryan Hurd, singled to score Hachee for a 4-2 lead.
Larrie Bowen picked up the victory by pitching three scoreless innings. Val Pascucci was the losing pitcher for Gahr (22-6) with a three-inning, three-run (two earned) performance.
La Quinta 3, West Torrance 1--Senior right-hander Jim Livernois gave up three hits to lead La Quinta to its first Southern Section Division III championship at Cal State Fullerton.
West Torrance loaded the bases against Livernois (15-3) in the top of the seventh inning with two out. But La Quinta center fielder Anibal Delacruz ended the game with a running catch of a line drive hit by Derek Nicholson.
La Quinta (28-3) took the lead in the bottom of the second inning when Joel London drove in two runs with a two-out double to left-center field.
West Torrance (25-7) scored its lone run in the top of the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Nicholson. Joe Linck's RBI single in the bottom of the third closed the game's scoring.
La Quinta, which was defeated by Tustin, 3-2, for the championship last season, made its third appearance in a title game. This is the second time West Torrance has played for a championship.
Yucaipa 4, San Marino 3--Brian Banner hit a two-run triple in the bottom of the fifth inning to lead Yucaipa (26-5) to a victory over top-seeded San Marino (22-2-1) in the Division IV final at Cal State Fullerton.
Darren Avila (10-1) gave up seven hits in six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out eight, to earn the victory.
Sierra Madre Maranatha 6, Santa Ana Calvary Chapel 2--Jon Crabb (9-0) pitched a two-hitter and gave up two runs, both unearned, to lead Maranatha to the Division V championship at Blair Field in the school's first appearance in a Southern Section final.
Maranatha (21-4) scored five runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back. Calvary Chapel finished 20-9.
Temecula Linfield 9, Hesperia Christian 8--Trailing, 8-7, in the bottom of the eighth inning, Kelly Sousa hit a two-run double to give Linfield (24-3) to its first Southern Section championship in the Division VI final at Blair Field.
Sousa, Linfield's catcher, drove in Shin Tamura, who had singled and stolen second, and Kyle Kane, who had walked.
Hesperia Christian finished 18-5.