Samohi’s Conner Greene (Photo by Paul Alvarez Jr.)
SAMOHI — In a battle between sought-after baseball prospects, advantage Serra.
Santa Monica starting pitcher Conner Greene held his own for most of the day against Serra and its vaunted star Dominic Smith, but couldn’t seal the deal during a 6-3 loss at home on Tuesday.
As a group of scouts from Major League Baseball teams looked on, the game was scoreless through three and a half innings before Samohi was able to put a couple of runs on the board against starting pitcher Smith in the fourth.
Samohi catcher Lino Lares drove in Nobu Suzuki, who singled to lead off the inning, to notch the game’s first run. Later in the frame, Ryan Barbarin drew a bases-loaded walk to score Jonathan Rakuljic.
Leading 2-1 in the sixth inning, Greene allowed a pair of runs that gave Serra a short-lived 3-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the frame.
“We witnessed outstanding pitching on both sides,” Serra head coach Wilmer Aaron said. “Greene threw a great game.”
Samohi was able to recover, rallying for a run on a bunt single by Barbarin in the sixth that gave the Vikings renewed life heading into the seventh.
Despite going six innings, Greene trotted out to the mound for the top of the seventh only to find a Serra lineup that apparently figured him out.
Knotted at 3-3, Serra began its assault when the inning’s first batter, Ashton Edior, singled to right field. Ryan Dobson followed with a bunt single putting a pair of runners on base for Isaiah Flowers whose single to right pushed Edior and Dobson across the plate.
That spelled an end to the day for Greene who was given the loss.
“For me as a pitcher, the mistakes that I made were easily avoidable,” Greene said. “That can never happen, it just kills the vibe of the team.”
Serra tacked on an insurance run later in the inning.
Samohi was able to get a couple of baserunners on in the bottom half of the seventh, but Serra’s reliever Dobson closed the door on any comeback giving Smith, considered one of the top five prospects in the country, the victory.
“We just didn’t hit for Conner,” Samohi head coach Kurt Schwengel said. “Every time they hit the ball hard off Conner, there was nobody under it. Every time we hit the ball hard off their pitcher, there was somebody under it.
“A couple of different bounces and it’s a completely different game.”
The loss sends Samohi to 5-4 on the season. Next for the Vikings is a road game at Corona Centennial on Saturday. The game begins at 11 a.m.