SAMOHI ‚Äî No hits, no problem.
Despite being no-hit, Santa Monica High School‚Äôs baseball team knocked off Culver City, 1-0, to win the Ocean League championship for the third straight year on Tuesday at home.
Culver City starting pitcher Jay Sterner was bringing it all day, but a pair of walks, a double steal and a sacrifice fly ball did the Centaurs in.
For Samohi, starter Alex Gironda matched Sterner pitch for pitch and kept Culver City from scoring all afternoon.
“It has been an amazing season,” said Gironda, who pitched a complete game shutout. “Things have just been going our way.”
Gironda may have been the star on the mound, but right fielder Gary Dixon was the star of the day.
He was Culver City‚Äôs Sterner‚Äôs thorn in his side. While trying to take third in the first inning on a Nolan Martinez single, Dixon threw him out trying to reach the base.
Again, in the sixth inning, Dixon spoiled Sterner‚Äôs day. On a line drive to right field, Dixon made a diving catch that may very well have saved the game in the sixth inning.
“I thought that was going to be a triple,” Sterner said. “That guy made a great play.”
The game‚Äôs lone run came during the bottom of the fifth inning when Samohi catcher Matt Kassowitz scored on Dixon‚Äôs sacrifice fly to left field. Kassowitz got to third base on a double stolen base.
“Dixon was amazing today,” Samohi head coach Kurt Schwengel said. “He was our MVP.”
The game secures Samohi‚Äôs third Ocean League title in a row and assures them a first round home playoff game. Despite the win, Schwengel said that Thursday‚Äôs season finale at Culver City is a must win.
“I don‚Äôt want these guys heading into the playoffs on a losing note,” he said.
After the game, Samohi alumni Charlie Sheen called the team and congratulated them on the accomplishment.
The win gives Samohi a 24-4 overall record and 9-0 mark in Ocean League play.
“All we needed was a run,” said Culver City head coach Rick Prieto. “We always have great games with these guys.”
Prieto said that he has total respect for the way that Samohi plays every year and has had to deal with them for 24 seasons as head coach.
“It‚Äôs always a tough game against them,” he said.
Today‚Äôs game begins at 3:15 p.m. at Culver City. Playoff matchups will be announced on Sunday.