A non-league baseball game against tradition-rich Long Beach Poly High brought several local celebrities to the Santa Monica High field Saturday, March 24.
Former Viking star Cody Decker, who now plays at UCLA, was present prior to a Bruins’ game a few hours later. Former longtime Viking athletic director Mike Griswold and present athletic director Norm Lacy were in the stands along with former Venice High and West Los Angeles College standout Lonnie Pascal. Vikings softball coach Debbie Skaggs and several of her players also attended.
They saw Coach Kevin Brockway’s Vikings roll to a 10-3 victory. It was their third in a row and left the season record at 6-2, while Long Beach Poly’s record became 6-3.
With all-CIF lefthander Joe McGrew pitching six strong innings and Paul Salazar the seventh, Samohi was efficient if not overpowering at bat.
Dylan Early drove in two runs with a single and bases-loaded walk, Vince Lawrence, Rayvelle Holsome, Casey Reese and Tyler Skaggs had RBI singles as the Vikings built a 10-1 lead.
The only mistakes were a couple of ill-advised dives by outfielders who missed balls and set up the visitors’ scoring. With a big lead the correct play both times was to play it safe and hold the hits to singles.
But if Samohi was deficient there, it was much better at the catching position than in some recent games. Lawrence handled the duties well as he attempts to separate himself from other candidates.
Jose Campos, who hit a grand slam home run in a recent win over Windward, has become the Vikings’ third baseman. Salazar, who had held the position, remains valuable as a relief pitcher and is also one of the catching candidates.
Then there’s Reese, the transfer from Las Vegas. He’s had some important hits and is expected to close games when he recovers from a shoulder injury. His debut as a Viking pitcher is most likely only a few weeks away.
Reese throws as hard as anyone on the Vikings’ staff and figures as an important reliever if not plagued by wildness. Samohi will be home in its Ocean League opener Friday, March 30 against Hawthorne and is scheduled for a non-league doubleheader at home April 4 against Santa Fe High.