The Ocean League baseball race went into its final week without a clear-cut winner.
Not even Santa Monica, which has won every game.
Samohi began the week 8-0 but Hawthorne was 7-1, and the teams were scheduled to play each other twice.
Culver City was eliminated from first place last week when the Centaurs were swept by Santa Monica, 9-4 and 2-0.
Previously, Culver City had split with Hawthorne. Now the team has three league losses.
All three teams are expected to make the CIF playoffs, but only the winner will be assured of hosting a first round game.
Samohi has won 11 of its last 12 games.
In its home victory last Tuesday, Samohi benefited from Mike Eyler’s four runs batted in, Justin Cooper’s double and triple and the pitching of Mike Walsh.
On the same day, Hawthorne pounded Inglewood, 17-3.
The game Thursday at Culver City, which represented the Centaurs’ last chance to earn a share of first place, was a dramatic contest.
A capacity crowd about evenly divided between Culver City and Santa Monica rooters brought umbrellas and heavy jackets as dark clouds brought the threat of rain.
The game was scoreless until the fourth when Samohi catcher Cody Decker drove a fastball far over the left field fence for his eighth home run of the season.
Decker then took part in a defensive gem. He went to the backstop to chase a wild pitch, caught up with the ball and threw to pitcher Chris Fiala, who hustled in from the mound and appied a tag. The runner was out and the late innings arrived with Samohi clinging to its lead.
In the seventh, pinch-hitter Garret Griffin doubled in another run as Samohi coach Kevin Brockway took advantage of a high school rule that permits a player to go out for a pinch hitter but return to play on defense.
Griffin rounded second too far and was caught in a rundown, but he had made his contribution.
Culver City rallied in the bottom of the seventh. Following a conference on the mound, Brockway left Fiala in. The decision proved wise when the lefthander retired the final batter on an infield grounder.
A few minutes later, rain came down hard. It held off just long enough.
A major factor in Samohi’s undefeated league record is the success of the starting pitchers. Walsh and Fiala have started every game and been highy effective. Other Samohi pitchers work Saturday tournament games.Folowing games this week the CIF will determine playoff pairings. the playoffs will begin next week.