Natalie Abel from the Santa Monica High School girls varsity softball team throws a pitch to a batter from the Inglewood High School girls Varsity softball team at SAMO on Thursday April 28th 2011 as Samo hosted Inglewood in an Ocean League softball game and won by a score of (photo by Morgan Genser)

SAMOHI — Another Ocean League game, another win.

Santa Monica High School’s softball team remained a perfect 5-0 in league on the back of a 15-0 rout of an overmatched Inglewood team on Thursday at home. Samohi is attempting to win its 10th straight league title as it defends its CIF-SS Division 4 championship from a year ago.

The Samohi Vikings came out strong in the first inning, plating three. The inning was highlighted by Marissa Padilla’s inside-the-park two-run home run. Inglewood did challenge in the top of the second, with a runner reaching third base, but the Sentinels were denied their only legitimate scoring chance against Samohi starting pitcher Natalie Abel.

“Our goal was to finally score on this field,” Inglewood head coach Noe Bautista said. “They are a talented squad to be sure.”

In his four years as head coach, Bautista’s Inglewood teams have never scored a run at Samohi.

Abel ensured that Bautista wouldn’t get his wish as she threw five innings of shut-out ball during a game that was called early due to the mercy rule. She also tallied six strike outs.

“She was hitting her spots,” catcher Kelly Ricard said of Abel. “She was keeping it low. We were really mixing it up today.”

Aside from catching a quality game, Ricard’s day featured a double off the fence in left field that opened Samohi’s day on offense. She would later score in the frame and finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with two doubles and a run batted in.

“It was good,” Samohi head coach Marybell Moreno said of the win. “The girls really talked it up.”

The Vikings may have won yet another lopsided league game, but the thought of the team becoming complacent is something Moreno has to battle. For her, the key to keeping the Vikings engaged is working on the finer points of the game like bunting and base assignments.

Ricard agrees, adding that the team’s tough mental makeup keeps it from losing focus as they make their playoff push.

“We just never give up,” she said.

Next for the Vikings is the El Segundo Tournament, which begins on Saturday. Samohi, the defending tourney champ, faces Village Christian in the first round. That game begins at 3 p.m.

“This was a good tune-up for us,” Moreno said. “This is helping us be more patient at the plate.”


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