SAMOHI — What was shaping up as a pitchers’ dual turned into a somewhat easy 6-1 win for Santa Monica baseball.
Tied 1-1 against Ocean League rival Beverly Hills on Tuesday at home, Samohi used a three-run fourth inning to put the Normans away and stay unbeaten in league.
Samohi starting pitcher Alex Gironda would end up going the distance during a 6-1 win that improved the Vikings to 17-10 overall and 7-0 in league. Beverly Hills drops to 10-12 overall and 4-3 in league.
The scoreboard may have read 6-1 at the conclusion of the game, but it was anything but a breeze.
Holding a 4-1 edge, Gironda faced a dicey situation in the top of the sixth inning.
With a pair of runners on and just one out, Beverly Hills’ Ethan Forman had a chance to get his Normans back into the contest, but Gironda was having none of that.
The junior righty struck Forman out and forced Grant Thompson to hit a come-backer to the mound that Gironda easily fielded, tossing the ball to first baseman Eric Gomez for an out that would prove to spell the end for Beverly Hills.
“I know a few of their hitters,” Gironda said of Andreas Breliant, Zack Gaon and Nick Reskin, who play travel ball with him in the offseason. “It helps that I know how they hit.”
For a little added insurance, Samohi right fielder Conner Greene hit a sharp single to left field that was botched by outfielder Thompson, allowing the ball to roll to the fence scoring Gomez and Greene, making it 6-1.
After the game, Samohi coaches said that the players were asking for it to be ruled an inside-the-park home run, but the official score will go down as a single and an error.
Gironda may have gone the distance to improve his record to 3-1 this year, but shortstop Mason Landis drew praise for helping the Vikings remain undefeated in league.
Landis was able to safely field six of seven chances, many of the line drive variety.
“If he didn’t make those plays, it would have been a different ball game,” said Samohi head coach Kurt Schwengel. “We weren’t taking Beverly Hills lightly today.”
For Beverly Hills head coach Vonzie Paysinger, the game could have went either way.
“We hit a lot of balls,” Paysinger said. “We knew we could hit off these guys. They didn’t over-power us.”
There was something to be made of Paysinger’s comments. Gironda was only able to collect four strikeouts in seven innings and just one from the fifth inning on.
Beverly Hills will get another shot at Samohi on Thursday at home.
Paysinger believes his Normans can bounce back if they just play seven innings of consistent baseball.
“We can’t lose our poise,” he said. “We have to battle it out.”
The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at La Cienega Park in Beverly Hills.