Cross-town Marmonte League rivals Simi Valley and Royal never see eye to eye.
On the baseball field there is a fierce competitiveness and a sense of utter disdain toward each other that starts at the top with the respective coaches and filters down through the team.
About the only things that Simi Valley Coach Scyphers and Coach McCurdy of Royal agree on is that they don't like each other and that they both answer to the name "Mike."
So it was safe to assume their views would differ on a potentially explosive incident in Wednesday's 10-2 Simi Valley victory, which broke a four-game losing streak and gave the Pioneers (19-6, 9-3) their second consecutive league title. Westlake, which could have won the title with a victory Wednesday, was upset by last-place Camarillo, 2-1.
"I know Scyphers will say some bad things about me," McCurdy said when asked why he instructed his pitcher, Dan Presta, to intentionally walk Scott Sharts immediately after a grand slam by Tim Laker gave Simi Valley a 9-2 lead with two outs in the sixth. "We can't worry about what Scyphers or Simi's players say. We felt the situation was right to walk Sharts. There weren't gonna be any back-to-back homers off Danny Presta."
McCurdy seems to know Scyphers pretty well.
"That was one of the bushest things I've ever seen in a baseball game anywhere," said Scyphers, who reacted so vehemently that he, along with his pitcher, Sharts, had to be warned by the umpires that there would be no retaliation. "There are probably better ways to handle it than the way I reacted, but to walk a hitter in a 9-2 game with the bases empty would never enter my mind."
Sharts maintained remarkable composure after receiving the free pass and gained a measure of personal satisfaction.
"It was ridiculous if you ask me," said Sharts, a junior who has a school-record 11 home runs. "He took the bat right out of my hands, but I didn't say anything. I looked over at their coach when I got to first and I shook my head in disbelief. It was satisfying to see my run score after that. I'm glad it came back to haunt him."
Sharts (9-3) was a haunting figure on the mound. His only real mistake in a complete-game, six-hit performance was allowing a two-run homer to Presta in the fourth inning, which gave the Highlanders a short-lived 2-1 lead.
Simi Valley broke open a 4-2 game by sending 12 men to the plate in a six-run sixth, which, in addition to Laker's eighth home run, featured a pair of singles by Marcus Lockwood.
Royal (11-11-1, 5-7) wound up its season with its third straight loss.
Simi Valley will now get ready to play host to a yet-to-be-determined, third-place team in the opening round of the Southern Section 4-A Division playoffs.