With the Mid-Valley League championship at stake, members of the Granada Hills High baseball team decided to get serious. So, little more than an hour before Tuesday's game with San Fernando, three Highlanders had their heads nearly shaved.
"We did it to pump up the team. We needed something to pick us up," said Scott Tosti, who, along with Sean Casey and Kevin Hopper, emerged from the barber with crew cuts.
The new look apparently worked, as Granada Hills won, 10-2, to cut short the Tigers' hopes for an undisputed league title. Granada Hills (11-4 and 14-5 overall) shares the league championship with San Fernando (11-4, 13-6).
The win gives the Highlanders, who had lost four of their five games, their fourth straight league title. Granada Hills also enters the City 4-A playoffs as the league's top team, based on two wins over San Fernando in three meetings this season.
For San Fernando, the title is its first since 1962, back when crew cuts were in style.
Casey allowed just two hits for Granada Hills through six innings before giving up two runs on five hits in the seventh.
"Everything was working pretty good for me. I was really pumped up for the game," said Casey, who is 7-3 in league.
"Casey has been doing this all year off and on," Granada Hills Coach Darryl Stroh said. "The key was scoring runs early. We hadn't put it together like this in a while."
The Highlanders collected 14 hits and four walks off three San Fernando pitchers.
In the bottom of the second inning, Granada Hills sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring five runs off San Fernando starting pitcher Frank Ruiz (3-1). Bob Allen, who entered the game hitting .465, tripled home three runs and scored on Tosti's single to left.
Granada Hills played efficient defense, committing just one error and turning double plays in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings.
"Our defense was just awesome out there," Casey said. "I was just letting them hit it and let them turn double plays, like it's an everyday thing. It's easy pitching with a defense like that."
The Highlanders scored three more runs in the fourth, on hits by Greg Fowble, Allen, Sean Brown and Mark Kessler.