It happens often. And 18 straight wins can do it.
Simi Valley High is no exception. It roared to an 18-0 record, then lost three out of four. What's the answer? Only Coach Mike Scyphers knows for sure.
"I think the team became complacent," Scyphers said. "I don't think the players thought they had to work as hard to win."
But the Pioneers did an about-face Friday, tagging three Westlake pitchers for 11 hits in a 15-2 Marmonte League victory at Simi Valley.
The Pioneers scored in the first inning when Eric Fischer hit his 10th double, scoring Tom Sullivan from third. Westlake responded in the second when second baseman Ron Woolse blasted a two-run homer in left field. Simi Valley tied it, 2-2, in the fourth inning. Chris Hale's sacrifice fly scored Dave Milstien from second.
But after winning pitcher Sean Harrigan (9-2) retired Westlake in the top of fifth, the Pioneers really went to work.
Designated-hitter Tim Laker led off the Simi Valley fifth with a double to left. Laker scored on Tom Sullivan's single to left. Westlake Coach Mike McCurdy pulled losing pitcher Brad Gossen (3-2) in favor of Steven Zeiss. And Simi Valley wasted no time loading the bases.
Sullivan, Fischer and Shaun Murphy scored on a Milstein line drive that scooted through the legs of left fielder Jim Henderson and the Pioneers led, 6-2. Simi Valley added nine runs on five hits to cap the inning.
"We didn't expect to roll a 13-run inning," Scyphers said. "We were talking about maybe rolling a four-run inning, but not thirteen . We just started hitting the ball really hard. I think we hit the ball just as hard against Thousand Oaks but we hit at people. I don't think we scored one cheap run.
"(Wednesday) we took a lot of batting practice. We talked about our approach to hitting. We were letting the ball meet the bat instead of having the bat meet the ball. I think we got that under control today."
Thousand Oaks travels to Simi Valley (6-2, 20-3) on Wednesday. Westlake (3-4) visits Newbury Park.