It came down to the final week of the Ocean League baseball race. Santa Monica High, the season-long leader, had no margin for error.
The Vikings had to defeat third place Culver City High twice to win the championship outright. Had they lost once they would have been caught by Beverly Hills.
Samohi met the challenge, winning 5-2 on Tuesday, May 8, at Culver City and 11-3 two days later at home.
As a result, Samohi finished with a league record of 9-1. Beverly Hills was second at 8-2, and Culver City was tied for third by Hawthorne at 5-5.
Santa Monica has an overall record of 20-9.
When the season began, seniors Joe McGrew and Devon Ramirez were Samohi’s starting pitchers. However, as the season developed, the talent of sophomore Tyler Skaggs was too much to ignore.
As a result, Coach Kevin Brockway worked Skaggs into the group. Ramirez, a speedy centerfielder and good hitter, spent more time in the outfield.
Skaggs was the choice for the Tuesday game at Culver City. Not only did he get the start, he remained in the game in the late innings when he faltered and it seemed like a reliever might be brought in.
Not until a final out was required did Brockway call upon reliever Paul Salazar, and Skaggs earned the win.
Skaggs’s grandparents had driven from their Nevada home to see him pitch a high school game for the first time.
Santa Monica took a 5-0 lead after three innings and held off a couple of Culver City rallies.
Diego Valdez drove in two runs, Casey Reese drove in another, and Rayvelle Holsome hit a two-run homer over the left field fence.
When the teams played again Thursday at Santa Monica, Culver City had a 3-2 lead as Samohi came to bat in the third inning.
The Vikings proceeded to score six runs, then added three more later.
There were two RBIs each by Valdez, Holsome, Bryan Eyler and Johnny Huerta. McGrew pitched six innings to earn the win.