From the time you’re old enough to listen, your elders drilled it into your head — share your candy, share your applesauce, share your toys.
With a win Wednesday meaning an outright Valley League title and a loss a co-championship, Del Norte High baseball coach Rielly Embrey told his team one thing before playing Ramona.
“I said this was the time to be selfish,” Embrey said before the last regular-season game. “I was in no mood to share.”
So the Nighthawks went out and scored a run in the first inning, three in the third and three more in the fourth en route to a 7-1 win over Ramona to claim sole possession of the league title.
Del Norte concludes the regular season 20-8 overall, 12-3 in the Valley League, winning its second league title in three years. Ramona is 18-10, 10-5.
“I’m happy for the seniors,” Embrey said. “They got a taste of it as sophomores, now this title is theirs.”
And seniors led the way.
Right-hander Stephen Xirinachs improved to 6-3, throwing a complete-game five-hitter, getting 11 groundball outs and overcoming four infield errors behind him.
“I love pressure situations,” Xirinachs said. “I love going out and giving my team a chance to win. Ramona is a good-hitting team. They beat us twice this season, so I knew what I was facing.”
Center fielder Matt Miller was 2-for-3 with a walk, drove in a run and scored three times.
Brady Groesbeck, who sacrificed in his first two plate appearances, slugged a long, two-run homer, the first home run of his career.
And Anthony Hensley had four singles, drove in two and scored a run.
“This championship was our goal from the first day of fall ball,” Hensley said. “Ramona is a tough team, a team that beat us twice. So to win this in a head-to-head game with them is the way it should be.
“Now we’re going into the (Division III) playoffs as league champions, and a win in our last game. Not having to share this is a huge boost.”
Ramona got all five of its hits in the first three innings, two by Jordan Farhat, who drove in the only run with a double.
“We beat Del Norte twice to put ourselves in a position to get a share of this title, and I couldn’t ask more of my team,” said Ramona coach Dean Welch.
“There are times when you have to tip your cap to the other team. This is one of those times.
“Xirinachs really competes. They made four errors behind him, but we couldn’t take advantage. When you only score one run in a championship game, you can’t expect to win.”
So what does Welch expect in the Division I playoffs?
“This loss will probably hurt us, but I’d like to get an eight seed,” Welch said. “Hey, we won 18 games. That’s something to hang your hat on.
“Losing a share of the league championship hurts, but there is a bigger prize out there.”