They ate together. They laughed together. They painted signs together. Most importantly, they became a team together.
Woodbridge, focused on Friday's game against Irvine since losing to the Vaqueros on March 30, became 14 selfless individuals over two meals and a painting party. Now, they might have a Sea View League title to show for it.
The Warriors, ranked No. 7 in the county, scored a 4-0 victory at Alton Park over second-ranked Irvine (18-5, 9-1), creating a first-place tie with four games remaining. Should they hold on, it will be the 11th consecutive title for Woodbridge (19-5, 9-1).
Beyond that, the team's five-course progressive dinner the night before--and the spirit signs they painted in lieu of dessert--as well as a pre-game lunch might help the defending Southern Section Division III champions to another title.
"We knew this game's ramifications (in section rankings and playoff seedings); they were No. 1, we were No. 4," senior shortstop Debbie Nasitka said. "Our team was composed of individuals, and now we're focused on winning as a team. We figured this was our biggest game of the year; if we didn't win this, we probably wouldn't go very far in the playoffs. Sometimes when you lose, you start trying to blame people.
"Winning this game has given us more confidence and a lot of togetherness. Plus, being seniors, we didn't want to be the first Woodbridge team to not win league."
Nasitka, who said the Warriors ascended to another level of play for this game, fouled off six two-strike pitches before delivering a run-scoring single in the fifth inning that broke the Vaqueros' spirit. Lisa Weaver followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
Woodbridge scored twice in the second. Weaver singled, and she and Jessica Montgomery scored on an errant throw when Montgomery hit into a fielder's choice. Third baseman Amy Middleton--going for a double play--threw the ball into right field and past both flanking outfielders.
Freshman Corey Washington (14-4) pitched a three-hitter, and though she had no strikeouts, her defense didn't make an error. Rebecca Smith (11-4) took the loss.
In other league games:
Santa Margarita 9, Newport Harbor 1--Joy Farmer had two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored, Michelle Hribar had two hits and two RBIs and Stacey Isaacson had two hits and an RBI for visiting Santa Margarita (8-12, 6-4).
Kim DeMayo homered in the first for Newport Harbor (12-6, 6-4), but twisted her ankle on the play and had to be replaced as catcher.
University 2, Tustin 0--Winning pitcher Corby Bouchard (7-10) squeezed home one run, and Carrie Kirk scored on an error for University (9-12, 3-7).