SAMOHI — Samohi’s Connor Greene wasn’t in a giving mood on Thursday against Ocean League rival Beverly Hills.

The junior pitcher allowed just two hits during a complete game shutout that improved Samohi to 8-0 in league, placing the Vikings in the driver’s seat for a second consecutive championship.

“I was struggling with first-pitch strikes,” Greene said. “But, my splitter was working. It’s my strikeout pitch.”

Greene collected 6 strikeouts in improving his record to 5-2 on the season.

Despite Greene’s short work of Beverly Hills, the Normans’ head coach Vonzie Paysinger said that it wasn’t so much the pitcher’s mastery that shut his offense down. Paysinger pointed to a Beverly Hills lineup that has struggled to score runs since spring break.

While he wasn’t overly impressed with Greene’s outing, he does rate the Samohi Vikings as the class of the league. Having faced Culver City twice this season and now losing to Samohi twice this week he believes the Vikings should have the horses to pull off another league crown.

Thursday’s win sets up a pair of pivotal games against Culver City next week starting with a home contest on Tuesday. If Samohi wins both games, the title is theirs.

Samohi head coach Sheldon Philip-Guide has scouted Culver City and sees a team that is scrappy and fundamentally sound. That’s always the case for a Rick Prieto-coached team, he added.

“As defending champs, we’re the big dog until somebody knocks us off,” Philip-Guide said. “I know they will be ready for us.”

For Samohi to again run the table in league, they will have to support the team’s usually strong pitching with an effective, if not resourceful, offense.

If Thursday was any indicator, the Vikings appear ready for the challenge.

The Vikings opened the scoring when Alonzo Hernandez slapped a ball to a Beverly Hills infield not ready to make the play. Beverly Hills was unable to turn the routine ground ball into an out allowing Samohi’s Eric Gomez to cross the plate. Gomez was earlier hit by a pitch from Normans starter Gabe Laemmle.

The Vikings struck again in the fourth inning, scoring three more runs to insure the win. Senior Adam Padilla began the frame with a double to center field. Gomez drove him in with a double of his own and would later score on a single by Benny Arce that plated a pair. Ryan Barbarin also scored on the play.

With an unblemished regular season up to this point, the Vikings will again lean on its tandem of quality starters to clinch the title and a sure first round home playoff game.

Padilla will take the hill on Tuesday at home with Greene closing out the season at Culver City on Thursday.

“If we can keep playing together as a team, we should be fine,” Greene said of the Vikings’ prospects.

daniela@www.smdp.com

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