Few East Bay high school baseball teams have turned around their seasons like Livermore has in the last three weeks.
Earlier this month, the Cowboys were in a rut. They had lost six of seven games to fall three games below .500, had to suspend three players for two weeks for violating team rules and had lost their best pitcher -- Oregon State-bound Daniel Slominski -- to season-ending Tommy John-style elbow ligament replacement surgery.
The frustration culminated in a 14-3 loss to California on April 7 that had Livermore's record at 4-7 overall and 0-5 in the East Bay Athletic League.
At that point, Cowboys coach David Perotti had seen enough.
"I'm not a yeller and a screamer," Perotti said, "but I was pretty frustrated after that game."
The message was heard by his players, as the Cowboys entered this week on a six-game win streak.
They edged Foothill 7-6 two days after the loss to California, then beat San Ramon Valley 5-1 behind exceptional pitching performances from sophomore Brian Martinez and senior Zach Fuller. Livermore also beat Granada 11-6 for its first win over its crosstown rival since 2008.
The Cowboys don't have one big bat but have gotten contributions from a number of players. Senior Drew Webber is hitting .366, and junior Ryan Ruley, an all-EBAL honorable mention selection last season, is hitting .318 with a .500 on-base percentage. The Cowboys also have 13 stolen bases in the six-game win streak.
Although the league title is probably out of reach, Livermore, a Division II school, could host a game or two in the North Coast Section playoffs if it can hold its own down the stretch.
"Right from the start of the season, we've talked about the journey and where it might take us," Perotti said. "But where we go on the journey is up to the players."
Streak snapped: The Campolindo baseball team saw its 18-game Diablo Foothill Athletic League win streak end Tuesday with a 6-4 loss to visiting Alhambra, which struck for five runs in the first three innings. Trent Davis went 2 for 2 with a double, three stolen bases and two RBIs for the Bulldogs, who now have won three straight league games and avenged their 7-0 loss to the Cougars on March 20.
Campolindo, which had allowed just seven runs in its first seven league games, still controls its own destiny for the DFAL title. The Cougars lead second-place Miramonte by 21/2 games with four games left to play.
YOUTH IS SERVED: The exceptionally young Heritage softball team sure can hit.
Full of freshmen and sophomores, the Patriots are once again leading the Bay Valley Athletic League thanks to a prolific offense that is batting over .400 as a team and averages eight runs per game.
Not bad, considering a majority of the team is playing varsity softball for the first time.
"We don't have any selfish players, we're all helping each other get better," coach Ron Rivers said. "We have better depth than we've ever had, even with some of the teams we've had before that were really good, this one has more depth."
The team's three upperclassmen -- seniors Kaylee James and Jasmina Cross and junior Kim Trice -- have provided stability for a team that has relied on a pitching staff of three freshmen.
Marissa Espinoza has done the bulk of the pitching recently after recovering from an early injury. She tossed shutouts in two of Heritage's past three BVAL games, aided by an improving defense.
"We are actually starting to play better defense," Rivers said. "So far, every game we've played we've had an inning where we've had an underclassman moment, and we're finally starting to get rid of that."
With five games left in the regular season, Heritage has a two-game lead in the BVAL and should advance to the NCS playoffs for an eighth straight time.
"Expectations haven't changed since I got here eight years ago," Rivers said. "Every year we want to compete for the league title and make NCS. That's always been our goal."
So far, the Patriots are on track to meet those goals yet again, despite their youth.
Staff writer Stephanie Hammon contributed to this notebook. Follow Curtis Pashelka on Twitter at twitter.com/CurtisPashelka.