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SM Legion Baseball Off to a Fast Start:

The Santa Monica American Legion baseball team is off to a fast start this summer.

The team, coached by Kevin Brockway of Santa Monica High and comprised primarily of Viking players, won four of its first five games, losing only to Palisades, 13-11.

Malibu, which has six collegiate players, is considered the league favorite.

The American Legion program affords the opportunity for high school players to sharpen their skills and gain experience. A year ago Joe McGrew came off the Samohi junior varsity and did well. He became the Samohi ace pitcher in the just-concluded season and was named to the all-CIF first team.

Two Samohi pitchers who experienced arm problems this season, Chris Fiala and James Nedelman, are playing this summer. Infielder Johnny Huerta, who didn’t play for Samohi this season, has returned, joining Viking regulars David Castellanos, Dylan Early, Milan De Pillars, Diego Valdez and others.

Infielder Eric Jaffe from Crossroads is also on the team.

Brockway is preparing for his third season as the Samohi coach. The 2005 Vikings won the Ocean League championship and the 2006 team finished second.

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