SAN JOSE -- With the championship trophy in its possession, the Leland baseball team huddled one last time Saturday at Municipal Stadium.
"One, two, three, we're done," the Chargers shouted.
Riding the wave of its "we are not done" motto, Leland fell two runs behind against Bellarmine College Prep in the first inning, rallied to take the lead in the sixth and then leaned on Josh Nashed's electric pitching arm to close out a 3-2 victory.
The final out recorded, the Chargers stormed the mound, their gloves sailing high in the air, as they celebrated the Central Coast Section Open Division championship, the program's first section title in 18 years.
"I can't tell you because it hasn't sunk in yet," Nashed said of winning the championship. "It was awesome. But I think tonight, after I am in bed, I am going to realize that this is something I am going to remember forever."
On a sunsplashed day, Leland rode the script that worked so well through its playoff run. As they did against Palo Alto and Valley Christian, the Chargers dug themselves an early hole but kept battling until someone got the clutch hit and the San Jose State-bound Nashed moved from third base to pitcher to finish off the victory.
With the score tied Saturday, Kevin Cance led off the bottom of the sixth with a chopper that bounced high over third base and into left field.
Liam Saito sacrificed Cance to second, and Josh Wells hit a soft fly ball that dropped into shallow center field, driving in Cance from second base with the decisive run.
"He threw me two curveballs in the at-bat before, and he was going to come back with that because I struck out previously," Wells said. "I just waited for it. He hung it, and I put it up the middle. A little dinker that ended up working out all right."
Before that inning, Nashed gathered the team in the dugout.
"Let's get a run, and I'll get you your three outs," he told his teammates.
Bellarmine's Tyler Bindi led off the game with a triple to deep right. Scotty Jarvis followed with a sharp grounder to third. Nashed fielded it, spun and threw a rocket to catcher Brendt Citta, who tagged out Bindi. Bellarmine still scored two runs in the inning, but Leland responded with two in the second, one on Jake Dermer's single.
"I wouldn't want it any other way," Leland coach Mike Sparrer said. "That's the way we've done it all year. We've teetered on the brink of falling completely apart."
But his team never did.
Throughout their playoff run, Wilcox players have emphasized their slogan at every opportunity: "Baseball is not a sport," they said. "It's a way of life."
Saturday, Wilcox capped its run with a 4-2 victory over Westmont in the CCS Division I title game as Andrew Najeeb-Brush drove in a run and was on the mound for the final nine outs.
With their work complete, Wilcox players posed for a picture as their fans held up a banner behind them that read: "#It's a way of life."
Najeeb-Brush's single to right in the second gave Wilcox a 1-0 lead, and Bradley Wilson's double an inning later stretched the cushion to 3-0.
Westmont responded with two runs in the fourth, on RBI singles from Mike Morbo and Tony Maniglia, but the Warriors could not get closer.
Najeeb-Brush ended the game by scooping a ground ball and outrunning the batter to first base.
Asked what he is going to remember most about the title, Najeeb-Brush said: "My family, my baseball family, that is. They're great in every aspect, on and off the field, busting their butt, getting better every single day. They sacrificed it out here, and it showed."
As soon as the catcher's throw to second went past the pitcher's head, Branham's Michael Walls broke for the plate from third.
His teammate was out trying to steal second, but Walls scored what turned out to be the only run, in the first inning.
Sophomore Arman Sabouri threw a three-hit gem to lead Branham to a 1-0 victory over St. Francis CCC in the CCS Division II championship game.
"A great performance," Branham coach Landon Jacobs said. "He went out, controlled the nerves big time, got ahead of hitters and just kept us in that ballgame the whole time. It was really impressive."
Branham sealed the victory when shortstop Ryan Williams turned a game-ending double play, igniting a celebration befitting of a title.
"It was the greatest feeling in the world," Sabouri said. "I've never felt that feeling before, ever."