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Santa Monia High School Varsity baseball teamember NicK Herrara charges towards a ground ball hit into play from the batter from Culver City HIgh School on Thursday May 12, 2011 as SAMO hosted Culver in an Ocean League game and won 7-2. With the win the SAMO varsity baseball wins the ocean league title (photo by Morgan Genser)

SAMOHI — The Vikings’ late-season resurgence has earned them a home playoff game.

Fresh off winning the Ocean League crown last week and completing the league season a perfect 10-0, Santa Monica High School’s baseball team will take on Montebello in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs on Friday at Samohi. The game is scheduled for 3 p.m.

“We had a preseason where we didn’t do terribly well,” Head Coach Sheldon Philip-Guide said of his Vikings that began the year 1-9. “Come league season, we finally started playing pretty well.

“Hopefully, we’ll continue to build on that.”

Philip-Guide said he doesn’t know much about Montebello beyond its 17-8 overall record, but will spend the next couple of days gathering scouting information on the Oilers.

He also hasn’t decided who to start on the mound, but he’s narrowed it down to three pitchers: Adam Padilla, Andrew McRitchie and Albert Garcia. He’s particularly intrigued by Garcia, who has emerged as the team’s closer.

“We have to figure out what’s in our best interest,” Philip-Guide said. “If we move on, who do we have available then?”

Samohi softball begins at home

The reigning CIF-SS Division 4 softball champion Samohi Vikings begin their title defense at home against Loara on Thursday.

Many of the same players return this year for a team that is making a transition of sorts. First-year head coach Marybell Moreno said she just wants to continue the tradition set by former coach Debbie Skaggs, who led the Vikings for 24 seasons before retiring last season.

But, she’s very aware that her team is now the hunted instead of the hunter.

“There’s always a target, having the title,” Moreno said. “Coming from a great program that Debbie had, teams are always out to get us.”

The Vikings enter the playoffs on a hot streak, having just won a 10th-straight Ocean League championship.

But, the team’s perennial success alone isn’t enough to advance the team deep into the playoffs, Moreno said.

“Like I told the girls, whatever happens, it’s win or go home,” she said. “And I’m not ready to go home just yet.”

Moreno hasn’t decided on a starter, but said she is leaning toward senior Natalie Abel, who was the No. 2 starter on last year’s championship team. She is even considering starting freshman Sara Garcia, who has been the No. 2 pitcher this season.

The team has experimented with starting Garcia with Abel coming off the bench as a closer of sorts, but Moreno wasn’t quite ready to show her hand just yet.

New Roads nabs top seed

New Roads’ baseball team enters the CIF-SS Division 7 playoffs as the No. 1 seed, a distinction that isn’t giving the Jaguars big heads.

“There are some good teams in Division 7,” Head Coach Sean Brookes said. “Not that I’m looking forward, but it will be a tough road no matter what happens.

“We have our work cut out.”

The Jaguars open the playoffs at West Los Angeles College on Friday against the winner of a wild card game between West Shores and Southwestern Academy, which will be played this afternoon.

Brookes said he’s unsure who his starting pitcher will be, with junior Anthony Carrillo and freshman Christian Vibiano being the likely candidates.

Pacifica Christian hosts first round

Pacifica Christian, winner of the Heritage League, will open the CIF-SS Division 7 playoffs at home on Friday against the winner of a wild card game between Coast Union and Trinity Classical Academy.

The Seawolves are the No. 10 ranked team in the division. There is a potential for Pacifica Christian and fellow Santa Monica-based New Roads to meet later in the postseason.

daniela@smdp.com

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