SAMOHI — It appears that the Vikings will live to play at least one more day.
Santa Monica High School’s baseball team came from behind to beat Ocean League rival Culver City 5-2 on Thursday, forcing a one-game playoff with Hawthorne today on the road at 3:15 p.m. to determine third place in league and an appearance in the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs, which begin next week.
The game against Hawthorne will be the third time the two teams will meet this season having split the previous two with both teams winning at home.
“This will give us a chance at a little pay back,” Head Coach Rob Duron said. “We’ll treat this game like it’s the real playoffs.”
Duron has decided to pitch freshman Adam Padilla against Hawthorne.
The matchup with Hawthorne was far from a lock heading into Thursday’s game. The Vikings had to win to force the one-game playoff, but for the first five innings it looked like Samohi’s season may be over.
Samohi’s Andrew Montanari started the game and cruised through the first inning. It was the second that gave the junior righty problems.
He walked the first man he faced in the second, Garrett Gemgnani. Culver City’s Jimmy Seay followed with a double to deep left, scoring Gemgnani with the game’s first run. Devin Sylvester followed with a single, putting men on the corners. Later in the inning, Patrick Cousineau brought home Seay making it 2-0 in favor of Culver City.
Samohi responded in the home half of the third when Logan Whitchurch slugged a triple to deep center. Senior Vince Lawrence sacrificed him home later in the inning closing the gap to 2-1.
The game remained a one-run affair until the bottom of the sixth when Samohi erupted for four runs highlighted by Walker Dove’s bases loaded RBI sacrifice that put the Vikings ahead 3-2. On a day the team’s seniors were honored, ironically freshman Padilla followed with a two-RBI single that iced the game.
Reliever Drew Hammond came in to close the top of the seventh and promptly retired Culver City to cement the win. Ethan Corn, who relieved Montanari, earned the victory with Hammond collecting his second save of the season.
“We just didn’t make the plays we usually make everyday,” Culver City Head Coach Rick Prieto said. “We just weren’t able to manufacture runs like we usually do.”
With the win, Samohi improved its record to 15-14 on the season and 6-4 in league.