SAMOHI — It was just one game, but it looks like Samohi baseball is ready for the Ocean League.
The defending league champs got a gem of an outing from starting pitcher Adam Padilla and an offensive explosion in the fourth inning to dispatch Hawthorne, 9-0, at home.
The game began as a pitching duel through three innings before Santa Monica erupted for eight in the fourth inning, essentially putting the game away. They would add a run in the sixth for good measure.
The rally was sparked by senior transfer Nobu Suzuki, who lined a double into left field off Hawthorne starter Mark Laffoon. He would score on a single by shortstop Mason Landis. The Samohi Vikings had the first seven batters of the inning reach base before Hawthorne reliever Jose Leyva recorded the first out of the frame.
The inning was punctuated by Suzuki, who cracked a triple to left field scoring Eric Gomez and Lino Lares. In all, Samohi would send 12 batters to the plate. Suzuki finished the day 2-for-3 with two runs batted in and a run.
“He comes out swinging the bat,” Head Coach Sheldon Philip-Guide said of Suzuki, who is playing his first year in the states after transferring from Japan. “He’s coming through for us, he doesn’t get rattled.”
Padilla tossed a complete game 1-hitter while striking out 6 to improve his record to 3-1 on the season. The only hit against him came during the first inning.
Padilla is confident that the Vikings can repeat as champs, but said the team has bigger ambitions than that. The senior said that a CIF-Southern Section title is what he wants after four years on varsity.
“We want to win the big prize,” Padilla said with bags of ice strapped to his pitching arm.
Across the diamond, Hawthorne head coach Jeff Hines was impressed by Padilla’s command, but stopped short of calling his performance dominating.
“He can be deceiving,” Hines said of Padilla. “He has good velocity, but you get the feeling that we could have done more against him.
“We just didn’t hit much.”
The win improves Samohi to 4-9 overall, but more importantly 1-0 in league. Hawthorne falls to 6-6 and 0-1.
The two teams will meet again at Hawthorne on Thursday. The game is scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m.
Samohi expects to start Connor Greene on the mound.