MEMORIAL PARK ‚Äî And the streak continues.
Santa Monica softball won its 85th straight Ocean League game Thursday at Memorial Park on the strength of a no-hitter by junior Sara Garcia. The latest victim was Inglewood, who fell 18-0.
“I just work on focusing on my mechanics,” Garcia said. “I just tried to locate my pitches all day.”
The final score of Thursday‚Äôs game was no surprise considering that Samohi knocked off Inglewood 32-2 earlier this month. The two runs Inglewood recorded are the only ones given up by Samohi to league opponents this season.
Inglewood was in trouble from the first pitch. Garcia struck out the side making way for an 8-run explosion in the bottom of the first.
Garcia led the inning off with a walk against Inglewood starter Meghan Moore, scoring on a double off the bat of senior Marissa Padilla.
It was all Samohi would need.
To keep the game from getting any more out of hand after the first inning, Samohi base runners stepped off the bag periodically before pitches to help Inglewood ring up outs. In softball, if a runner leaves a base before the pitch is delivered it is an automatic out.
“I can‚Äôt take anything away from that program,” Inglewood head coach Noe Bautista said of Samohi. “I tip my hat to what they have been able to do.”
The win improves Samohi‚Äôs overall record to 10-7 and 6-0 in league. Inglewood dropped to 1-6 in league.
Adding to Garcia‚Äôs dominant showing was a 3-run home run she drove to center field that put Samohi up 18-0 in the fourth inning of a game that was called after five innings due to the mercy rule.
Despite Garcia‚Äôs dominant performance, head coach Debbie Skaggs said that Garcia needs to work on her control after issuing four walks to Inglewood.
Beyond that, Skaggs was just happy to see the streak continue.
Playing in the traditionally weak Ocean League has helped Samohi continue its impressive streak, but keeping the girls‚Äô heads in the game has been the trick to keeping it alive.
Skaggs said that her Vikings, at times, enter league games with less than complete enthusiasm.
“We try to set small goals,” Skaggs said. “But, it‚Äôs been tough to keep it going.”
The only credible streak buster in league is Hawthorne.
Samohi was able to eke out a 1-0 win over Hawthorne on April 16 in windy conditions.
The two teams face each other on May 2 at Hawthorne. Skaggs is confident her girls can put up more offense that time around, but she is cautiously optimistic that the Vikings can pull it off.
“They are much improved,” Skaggs said of Hawthorne. “We expect a good game.”
Next for Samohi is a pair of games on Saturday as part of the El Segundo Tournament. They face Serra first. If they advance they will take on the winner of the Agoura-Mary Star matchup. The games will be played at El Segundo High.
Garcia believes that big wins over league opponents are nice, but it‚Äôs tournaments and preseason games that really prepare the Vikings for the playoffs and a possible second CIF-Southern Section title since 2010.
“It‚Äôs what we all play for ‚Äî winning CIF,” Garcia said.