CULVER CITY — Santa Monica High School’s Adam Padilla is a pretty important dude.
The sophomore pitched a complete game, 3-0, shutout against Culver City to clinch a tie of the Ocean League championship Thursday on the road. He also belted a one-run home run in the sixth inning to give the Samohi Vikings (15-11 overall, 8-2 in league) a lead they would not relinquish.
“There were some battles,” Padilla said, “but I just kept hitting my spots.”
While the team will share the league title, it lost a crucial coin toss that gave Culver City the top seed heading into the playoffs, potentially costing the Vikings a first-round playoff game.
“I feel great for the kids,” Samohi Head Coach Sheldon Philip-Guide said. “I feel great for the program in general.”
Philip-Guide, in his first year coaching the team, said that the league title is sweet, but he has his eyes on something bigger.
“[Winning a title] was one of our goals,” he said. “I don’t want to settle for that any more.
“It’s nice to win the Ocean [League], but I want Samohi to compete for CIF championships.”
The game was a must-win for the Vikings. Samohi entered the week tied with Culver City for the league lead. Culver City defeated the Vikings, 3-1, in extra innings on Tuesday forcing Samohi to win Thursday’s game to salvage a share of the league crown.
With the pressure squarely on his shoulders, Padilla sought the advice of senior pitcher Alonzo Gonzalez. Padilla said that the veteran hurler told him to “stay focused and just concentrate on one pitch at a time.”
“That’s exactly what I did,” Padilla said.
With the regular season on the books, Samohi awaits Monday’s announcement of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 3 playoff brackets. Philip-Guide said that there was a slim chance of hosting a playoff game, but he said he believes the Vikings will begin their postseason on the road late next week.
“I want to get to this point every year,” Philip-Guide said, “to be in the hunt.”