To hear Westlake Coach Dennis Judd tell it, Friday's victory was felt throughout the entire city.
Since Westlake High opened its doors in 1979, the Warriors had never won a baseball game from Conejo Valley rival Thousand Oaks.
To make matters even worse, the most recent defeat at the end of last season ruined the team's chance for its first-ever playoff berth.
That drought ended Friday afternoon as Westlake took out eight years of frustration in a 40-minute, eight-run fifth inning en route to an 11-3 Marmonte League victory over the visiting Lancers.
Judd is in his first year with the program, inheriting a team that placed fifth in the league last year. The year before, Westlake was 2-22, so hard times had been a way of life for the Warriors.
"I'm really happy for our kids and our school and it gives the community something to believe in," Judd said.
Junior left-handed pitcher Greg Struhl (1-1) earned the victory even though he wasn't included in the original starting lineup. Right-hander Bob Grandpre was slated to pitch, but Judd made a last-minute change and Struhl responded with a four-hit complete game.
Thousand Oaks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on designated hitter Ed Hall's solo home run to left field. After Westlake forged a 2-1 lead, Thousand Oaks pushed across two runs in the third inning on an error, a walk, and run-scoring hits from right fielder Gus Nelinger and pitcher Chris Newman to take a 3-2 lead.
Struhl's fourth-inning homer tied the game, and Westlake broke the tie by battering three Thousand Oaks pitchers for eight hits in the fifth-inning rally. The big inning started auspiciously with back-to-back home runs from catcher Jim Henderson and first baseman Jim Robertson. Designated hitter Brad Gossen followed with a triple to deep center and Struhl hit a run-scoring double.
"Man, that's just hard to believe," Judd said about the consecutive extra-base hits. "I don't think I've ever seen that before."