Future opponents of the Camarillo High baseball team, consider yourself warned.
If you would like to win: 1) Don't get too far ahead of the Scorpions. 2) Don't get them mad.
Redondo Beach did both Friday afternoon at Camarillo and, as a result, the Sea Hawks were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Southern Section 4-A Division playoffs, 12-6.
The first mistake Redondo Beach made was to score five runs in the first inning. Normally, that's a pretty good strategy, but not against the Scorpions.
All Camarillo did was come back with six runs in its half of the inning, taking a lead it would never relinquish.
Mistake No. 2, second inning: Redondo Beach relief pitcher Scott Davison threw a fastball behind Camarillo's Kevin Madden, almost hitting him.
Result: Madden gathered himself, choked the bat a little tighter, and sent the next pitch on a line over the fence in right center. Davison probably heard it hissing at him as it passed his left ear. The three-run homer gave Camarillo a commanding 9-5 lead.
Both coaches said they expected more of a pitcher's duel, but that notion died early.
Neither starting pitcher made it out of the first inning.
Camarillo starter Mike Chase was greeted by a line single on his first pitch to leadoff hitter Damon Salisbury. After another single and a walk, Danny Campbell singled to right, driving home the Sea Hawk's first run.
One out later, Johnson chased Chase with a grand slam to left-center. Six batters up, score: 5-0. Enter Camarillo reliever Charlie Fiacco.
Fiacco, a senior infielder who has signed a letter of intent to attend UCLA in the fall, quickly restored order by getting a ground out and a strikeout to end the inning.
But as he walked off the mound, he couldn't help thinking it might have been a bit too late.
"I was a little worried because I knew we were up against a real tough pitcher," Fiacco said after the game. "I just tried to keep thinking positively. I knew we had all seven innings to come back."
It didn't take nearly that long.
Angel Barroso led off Camarillo's half of the inning with a walk, followed by a single by Ken Sirak. After Scott Cline struck out, Fiacco lined a single to right, scoring Barroso.
Kevin Madden then reached base on an error as Sirak scored. Hugh Heath followed with an RBI single to right, scoring Fiacco.
Next up was Chris Lillich, who proceeded to launch a 1-2 pitch far over the left field fence for a three-run homer.
Exit Johnson, who had a 14-2 record entering the game. Enter Davison, a freshman.
Davison got out of the inning without allowing any more damage, but in the second Camarillo reloaded for three more runs on Madden's blast.
"We've been hitting the ball well, but that was quite a comeback," Camarillo Coach Ken Wagner said after the game. "There are a lot of winners on this team. It's hard to get them down. They seem to do whatever it takes to win."
The comeback shouldn't be too surprising. The Scorpions (21-7), fell behind early in the race for the Marmonte League championship, rallying in the league season's final two weeks to win going away.
One major reason: The play of Fiacco. He's never fancy, but he's almost always effective.
He was recruited to UCLA as a third baseman, but he proved once again Friday that he can pitch pretty good too, improving his record to 8-0.
He retired the first 10 batters he faced and had trouble only twice. In the fourth, Redondo Beach loaded the bases, but Fiacco got Kurt Bohney on a tapper to first base, closing off the rally.
The Sea Hawks did manage to score a run in the seventh though, on a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly.
Fiacco's relief performance was especially significant considering that he had gone five innings in a 9-2 win over St. Francis on Tuesday, and he was Camarillo's last available pitcher. Relief specialist Joe Soloman was suspended for the game by Wagner for disciplinary reasons.
"We really didn't want to throw Charlie, but he told us before the game that he was ready if we needed him," said Gary Allen, Camarillo's pitching coach. "Boy, did we need him."
Next up for the Scorpions is St. John Bosco (20-4), a 1-0 upset winner over second-seeded Poly of Riverside on Friday.
The Scorpions will meet the Braves in the semifinals on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to the championship game at Anaheim Stadium next Friday.