In the first inning of Santa Monica High’s baseball opener Saturday, Cody Decker hit a home run over the left-centerfield fence.
In his next at-bat the Vikings’ senior catcher doubled to right-center.
That was enough to convince Oxnard High it didn’t want to face him anymore. In three more at-bats Decker walked, the last two intentionally when he was waved to first base by the umpire without a pitch being thrown.
In high school baseball, there’s a rule permitting the intentional walk that way. In professional baseball, four pitches must be thrown.
The high school rule makes it easy for an opposing coach to dispose of a rival’s star player. And without Decker’s hits, Samohi had little offense in a 3-2, 10-inning defeat.
The non-league game was Kevin Brockway’s first as the Samohi coach and he came within one out of a victory. Samohi led, 2-1 with two outs in the seventh but Oxnard tied the game on a single and triple off reliever Stuart Boardman. Then the teams went into extra innings and required three hours to finish the contest.
The game served as Samohi’s opener after Friday’s game against Hueneme High was cancelled due to wet grounds. The weather was fine Friday, but the outfield grass was so wet from recent rains the field was deemed unplayable.
’’We worked very hard to get it ready for Saturday,’’ said Brockway.
A first look at the Vikings suggests the team might have good pitching and defense but will struggle on offense unless others step up, At first glance Decker is the team’s only slugger.
Lefthander Mike Walsh pitched six strong innings, overcoming early wildness. The defense was solid and reliever Garret Griffin was effective until he ultimately gave up the winning run.
Samohi had one final opportunity when junior centerfielder Milan Depillars was allowed to remain on second base when interference was ruled on the basepaths in the bottom of the 10th when he was bumped during a rundown. Oxnard argued he should be out and Samohi argued he should be awarded third base. The ruling put him on second but that was as far as he was to get.
In the final few innings, drama mounted as time grew short for Decker to make his appearance in a matinee showing of the Samohi production of `The Music Man,’ in which he plays the leading role.He sought advice from representatives of the music department who were in the stands and was told to concentrate on the game and not to worry. When the contest finally ended, he quickly shook hands with opponents and dashed away.