SAMOHI — With the bases juiced in the bottom of the seventh inning of a close game with no outs, the Vikings couldn’t do the little things to steal a win from West Torrance.
Samohi fell 6-5 Saturday at home, but the tough loss could have easily been avoided if the Vikings could only convert a few bunts.
“Execution was a problem today,” Samohi assistant coach Chris Brennan said. “If only we could have done a couple things here and there.”
The fact that the Vikings were still in the game late spoke to the team’s ability to bounce back from an early 6-1 deficit. Despite letting West take such a commanding lead, Samohi battled back, eventually closing the gap to 6-5 in the fifth inning. But, it was a lack of execution in the bottom of the seventh that doomed the Vikings.
The inning began optimistically as starting pitcher Adam Padilla slapped a seeing-eye single to right field that set the stage for what appeared to be a rally. Matthew Stancil followed by reaching base on an error.
With two on and no outs, West’s head coach, Juan Cueva yanked relief pitcher Joe Smith in favor of Joey Notch. Facing his first batter, Notch benefited from David Tyre-Vigil’s soft bunt attempt, which was fielded by West’s catcher Austin Watters who promptly gunned down Padilla at third.
With one down, Samohi’s Albert Garcia kept the one-out rally going by drawing a walk to load the bases. With the bases full, Trent Nelson hit a sharp grounder to the infield giving West enough time to nail Stancil at the plate.
With two outs and the bases still loaded, Notch induced Ruben Fajardo to hit a ground out to third, ending the game and killing the Vikings’ chance at victory.
“It comes down to having an approach at the plate,” said Padilla, who pitched a complete game in defeat. “We were taking too many strikes. We can’t just look for a perfect pitch to hit. You have to take what they give you sometimes.”
The loss sends Samohi to 5-15 overall and 2-0 in the Ocean League.
Despite being rebuffed late, West’s Cueva was impressed with what he saw from the Vikings.
“They are solid even though they are a little young,” Cueva said. “I have to tip my hat to them for not giving up.”
Next for Samohi is a home league game against Morningside on Tuesday. The game is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.