MARINE PARK — The title drought is over for St. Monica’s baseball team.
For the first time in six seasons the Mariners can call themselves league champs.
St. Monica clinched the Camino Real League title thanks to some late inning heroics against Bosco Tech at Marine Park on Tuesday during a 4-3 victory.
“I thought coming out of last year that we had a chance to have a good season,” Head Coach Jack White said. “We hit some roadblocks, lost some players, it looked like it was going to be a grind, which it was.
“Somehow we have been able to put in a run and come out on top.”
The game appeared to be St. Monica’s for the taking early on as the team took a 3-0 lead into the fifth inning. Senior starting pitcher Conor Walsh, who had been cruising up to that point, allowed Bosco Tech to load the bases and ultimately allowed all three base runners to score.
Reliever Kyle Schwan, appearing in his third straight game in relief, was able to work out of the jam, buying the Mariners time to mount a rally of their own.
That rally came in the form of the ninth batter in the line up, Hector Santiesteban. He led off the fifth inning with what appeared to be a solid double to right center field. As a pair of Bosco Tech defenders struggled to scoop up the ball, Santiesteban decided to try to leg the double into a triple if not more. White, who was coaching third base, tried to give Santiesteban the stop sign, but he ran through it forcing Bosco Tech’s cutoff man to hurry a throw to home that appeared to be on time, but was bobbled by the catcher allowing Santiesteban to score the go-ahead run, making it 4-3.
Schwan was able to maintain the lead and pick up his third victory in as many games.
“We’re making a habit of these late inning heroics,” said White, whose team won in extra innings on Friday against Cathedral.
While the Mariners have qualified for the playoffs they will have to wait until Monday to find out who and where they will be playing. White believes that his team should be granted a home game in the first round.
St. Monica will close the regular season on Thursday at Bosco Tech. The game will begin at 3:15 p.m.
Instead of taking the game off, White said his squad owes a solid effort to the other teams competing for second and third place in the league. Mary Star of the Sea, Bosco Tech, Cathedral and Serra are all still battling for the remaining two playoff spots from the Camino Real League.
Samohi boys volleyball to host playoff game<p>
Making a claim as one of the more successful programs at Santa Monica High School, the Vikings’ boys volleyball team has not only won the Ocean League but will be hosting a playoff game at home, too.
After finishing the season 14-10 overall and 6-0 in league, Samohi has earned the right to host Bellflower on Friday at 7 p.m.
Head Coach Liane Sato said she doesn’t know much about Bellflower, a team that finished fourth in the Suburban League, but is confident her squad is ready for all comers.
“I think we’re on track,” Sato said. “We have good ball handling skills, good ball control.”
Sato will look to Eric Barber, Charles Levy and Julian Hess to lead the way not only against Bellflower but throughout the playoffs.
The team, which last won a California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section title in 2006, made it to the quarter finals last season and lost in the finals the year before. The team has made the playoffs in each of Sato’s six seasons coaching the team.
Sato believes that this team has all the makings of a CIF champ.
“All we have to do is win to move on,” Sato said. “The playoffs are always exciting, the kids are excited.”
St. Monica’s boys tennis loses in playoffs<p>
After finishing 7-6 overall and 6-5 in Del Rey League play, the boys tennis team at St. Monica’s lost in the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs on Tuesday.
St. Monica Athletic Director Rick Bruce said he was proud of his team’s effort against Sante Fe High School, which has nearly 3,000 students.
“They may not have won, but it was a good season,” Bruce said.