SAMOHI — On the field, Santa Monica High School’s baseball team had little trouble dispatching Ocean League rival Morningside, 11-2, on Tuesday. But it was something going on off the field that made for an unusual game.
Sometime before the game on Tuesday, Morningside fired Head Coach Brian Reed for unspecified reasons, interim coach Doug Otteson said. The news of the firing came as a surprise to him and the rest of the team.
“We were supposed to be rebuilding the program,” said Otteson, who formerly was the junior varsity coach. “I really don’t know what else to say about it.”
As the team moves forward, Otteson said that there were a number of issues to address and he was just getting to the business of reorganization in the wake of the unexpected change in the coaching staff.
“All I can do is wait to see what happens,” Otteson said as his team prepares for a rematch at their place against Samohi on Thursday.
As for the game, it was over pretty much from the start. The Samohi Vikings scored a pair in the first inning thanks to a two-RBI double off the bat of junior center fielder Adam Padilla.
The Vikings struck again in the second inning when Christian “Bobo” Rodriguez slapped a double to center field, scoring catcher Mitchell Eby, who led off the frame with a single.
Those would be all the runs the Vikings would need en route to improving their record to 5-16 overall and 3-0 in league.
While the Samohi offense erupted for 11 runs, it was the steady pitching of senior starter Andrew McRitchie that limited the Monarch offense to few scoring opportunities during his time on the mound. McRitchie would finish the day with eight strikeouts over five innings. He collected the win to improve his record to 3-3.
“It was good being back at home,” McRitchie said. “We knew that they weren’t that great, but we also didn’t want to play down to their level.”
The one flaw in McRitchie’s day was his inability to get his curve ball over for a strike. He said that he threw just a handful before deciding that his fastball was all he needed to get the win.
“Hopefully the curve will come back,” he said. “I’ll just keep working on it.”
As the Vikings prepare for Thursday’s rematch with the Monarchs, thoughts of repeating as league champs hung in the minds of many.
Head Coach Sheldon Philip-Guide said that he was happy to get some of his reserves playing time in Tuesday’s game as it would benefit his team’s depth going forward.
While the Vikings enter Thursday’s game as the obvious favorites, McRitchie was careful to reiterate that his team would have to remain focused to keep its undefeated league record in tact.
“This game was good to get our confidence going as we look down the road to facing Beverly Hills next week,” he said.