Mirror Sports Writer
A lot of schools would be happy with 18 wins, a second place finish in their league and a berth in the CIF baseball playoffs.
But for Santa Monica High the season came up short of last year’s accomplishments and it ended Friday in a 3-1 loss at San Dimas in the first round of the CIF Division 4 playoffs.
Santa Monica gave up three unearned runs as Joe McGrew pitched the entire game and absorbed the loss. Samohi’s run came in the fourth inning. David Castellanos singled and scored on a double by Devon Ramirez.
There wasn’t a tremendous difference in the numbers from last season – just enough to bring the Vikings down a notch.
They won 20 games a year ago, won the Ocean League championship and defeated Lompoc in a first round playoff game before losing to eventual division champ El Segundo.
This time Samohi went 18-11-1, went 7-3 in the league instead of 10-0 and as a second place team had to travel in its playoff opener. Culver City, which won the league, had a home playoff opener and won.
One difference was that Cody Decker – the Vikings’ best power hitter last season – hit two home runs last week but not for Samohi. He hit them for UCLA, where he is a freshman. He hit them on consecutive days to help produce wins over USC.
Kevin Brockway became the Samohi coach last season and a lot went well. This season his team was forced to cope with injuries and was without catcher Mike Schwartz all season because of a wrist injury. In addition, pitcher Chris Fiala, who was expected to be the ace of the staff, worked only 18 innings because of a lingering arm injury. His season record was 2-2.
McGrew, a 6-foot-3 left hander who pitched for the Viking junior varsity last season, became Brockway’s most reliable starter with a 9-3 record.
Castellanos, the shortstop, was the Vikings’ leading hitter with a .447 average. Centerfielder Dylan Early led in RBI with 26.
First baseman Diego Valdez hit .389, left fielder Milan De Pillars .356, right fielder Ramirez .350, third baseman Paul Salazar .348 and Early .343.
Several of the team’s most productive players were juniors and can be expected to lead the way next season. The list includes McGrew, Early, Schwartz, Valdez and Ramirez. Salazar was a sophomore and Tyler Skaggs, a left-handed pitcher who had a 2-0 record, was a freshman.
DePillars is likely headed to college baseball. He’s been accepted at San Jose State.
Brockway will coach the Santa Monica American Legion team this summer.