SAMOHI — Santa Monica baseball hasn’t won in the postseason since the 2008-09 season, where they defeated Knight to advance to the second round.
For the past three years, the Vikings have been sent packing in the first round, a fact they hoped to fix Thursday in round one of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs at home. But, unfortunately, Samohi’s championship dreams were dashed in an 8-3 loss to that same Knight team.
Samohi starting pitcher Alex Gironda displayed efficiency with four strikeouts in the first four and two thirds innings before things started to deteriorate.
Gironda, a junior, gave up five hits and four runs in the fifth inning, including three consecutive hits, highlighted by Knight catcher Edgar Cabral’s monster 370-foot home run.
What was once a 1-0 Samohi lead turned into a 4-1 deficit by the end of the frame.
“I thought Gironda was throwing great …,” Samohi head coach Kurt Schwengel said. “We certainly didn’t expect an 0-2 hit and then a home run out of left field. I’ve been here for four years and I’ve never seen a ball go out.”
Knight head coach Scott Runblade wasn’t surprised by the feat of strength.
“[Cabral’s] capable of hitting that all the time,” he said.
To make things more dramatic, Cabral hit his impressive home run on a bum ankle. After a bad slide, Cabral had to be taken out and replaced by a pinch runner in the fourth. High school rules allow injured players to return to the game.
“He pulled a Kirk Gibson on us, limped up to the plate and hit it outta Samo,” Schwengel said.
Samohi just couldn’t match the bats of Knight, who during the regular season had a 10-game stretch where they scored 100 runs.
In contrast, Samohi had just two hits the entire game.
“No offense to them, but in a 3-to-5 game series I honestly think we can take them,” Schwengel said. “They caught us on a bad offensive day.”
Schwengel, however, is optimistic with his ball club’s prospects for next year.
“This doesn’t change my opinion of this season being a huge success,” said the first-year head coach. “I think the program is headed in the right direction. Twenty wins and a league title, I think that says a lot about how hard the kids worked this year.”