SAMOHI — The game may have been delayed 90 minutes, but it didn’t seem to matter to the boys from Santa Monica.
Samohi’s baseball team shrugged off the delay to power past Eastern High School, 7-2, on Tuesday at home. Eastern made the trek west all the way from Voorhees, NJ, to play in the Babe Herman Tournament.
Once the crew of tardy umpires finally arrived, it was obvious Samohi came to play.
Samohi starting pitcher Jonathan Rakuljic, a sophomore, pitched a complete game against an Eastern team that struggled all afternoon to pick up his off-speed pitches.
“My fast ball felt good and my change-up was working,” Rakuljic said. “But, Eastern is a good team, I was lucky to get outs.”
The same couldn’t be said for Samohi’s lineup, which scored early and often on Eastern starter Steven Volpe.
Samohi struck first in the top of the second inning when senior Adam Padilla scored on a Volpe wild pitch. Padilla had led off the inning with a single and was the beneficiary of a sacrifice by Ryan Barbarin and a balk by Volpe to set up the game’s first score.
“They are an excellent ball club,” Eastern head coach Rob Christ said. “We knew that coming out here.”
The Samohi Vikings rallied again in the fourth when senior Alonzo Hernandez hit a ground ball that took an unexpected hop over the heads of Eastern’s middle infielders, scoring Eric Gomez and Barbarin.
Eastern was able to scratch out a run in the fifth inning when Nick Tierno scored Dylan McCarty on a fielder’s choice. But, it wasn’t enough to stave off a surging Samohi team that has won five out of the last six games.
Adding a little more salt to the wound, Samohi finished the game with an exclamation mark in the form of a home run off the bat of shortstop Mason Landis.
The Vikings’ recent winning ways is starting to make a believer out of Head Coach Sheldon Philip-Guide.
“We’re getting hot, finding energy,” Philip-Guide said. “I knew we could do this, we’re streaking at the right time.”
Samohi concludes the Babe Herman Tournament today against Torrance at Stengel Ballfield in Glendale. The game begins at 1 p.m.
The Vikings are 2-1 in the tourney thus far. Eastern fell to 1-2 during their trip to the Golden State.
The win improves Samohi to 8-10 on the season after a slow start.
Their current momentum will serve them well as they return to Ocean League play next week with a home-and-home two-game series against Inglewood.
“I like our chances,” Philip-Guide said of his defending league champs. “We’re starting to click real nice.”