SAMOHI — The leadoff hitter is usually only asked to get things started, but Alex Turner is the type of guy who takes things into his own hands.
“If I’m on first, I’m looking to score,” said Turner.
And score he did during Santa Monica baseball’s 3-0 victory over the Ventura Cougars in their season opener on Saturday at home.
Turner found himself leading the line-up and the offense for his team as a designated hitter.
Despite coming off a shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup for a time last year, Turner delivered everything you would want from a lead-off hitter, recording two walks, two runs and two stolen bases.
“He didn’t see a strike until his third at-bat. It’s safe to say they know who he is,” said Samohi head coach Kurt Schwengel.
Schwengel says he plans on keeping Turner as the designated hitter until he regains the strength in his shoulder — and maybe even after.
“We want opposing pitchers to know they’re going to have to start off the game against Alex Turner,” said Schwengel. “You can’t put a price tag on scoring first.”
The aggressive offensive effort by Samohi was backed by the immaculate pitching of Conner Greene. Greene struck out nine batters, including the first four of the game.
The senior Greene remained poised and in control throughout the game despite racking up a high pitch count early. Greene had 59 pitches by the end of the third inning and 100 total for the day.
“I noticed they were scared of my curveball, but I didn’t expect to go so deep into the count with each guy,” said Greene, who pitched a shutout for five innings until being taken out for Alex Gironda.
Gironda, who closed out the game, had two strike outs on 32 pitches, bringing the Vikings to an impressive 11 strikeouts total.
“We had lights-out pitching and it’s been that way all fall. We have five guys who could have closed that game out,” said Schwengel.
The Cougars struggled offensively all game but did a good job of pouncing on defensive opportunities, specifically starting pitcher Jay Navarro. Navarro, playing the role of workhorse for his team, picked off four runners.
Ventura managed to pick off five runners in total and had three in the first three innings.
“You’re going to get picked off a couple times in a long season being aggressive, but five is a bit much,” said Schwengel. “As clear as a victory as it was, it should have been a lot more. We have some stuff to work on but it’s nice to know your weaknesses.”
The Vikings’ next scheduled game is Wednesday at Notre Dame.