The refurbished field was in good shape on Wednesday, February 6 for West Los Angeles College’s first home baseball game in 21 years. There was a large turnout and a festive environment.
But then the game started.
Cero Cosso College proceeded to pound West LA, 11-2, representing unfortunate timing for the Oilers, who had been highly competitive in their first five games, all played in Orange County and San Diego.
But West LA Coach Bob Grant, who has nine players on his roster from Santa Monica schools, is taking the approach that you’ve got to start somewhere.
“We would have liked to play better, but the positive development was the school had a home baseball game for the first time since 1986,” he said.
“Our school president, Dr. Mark Rocha was present. This is his baby. He’s been behind it from Day One. There is now a community college baseball program on the Westside and we want to make it one of the best in Southern California.”
Some West LA highlights in the first home game were provided by Santa Monica players.
Milan Depillars from Santa Monica High had two hits. Depillars, the centerfielder, and left fielder David Viviano from New Roads ran down drives in West LA’s spacious outfield. Stuart Boardman and Bryan Little, both formerly of Samohi, pitched in relief.
West LA dropped baseball in 1986 due to budget cuts and Santa Monica College did the same eight years later. Now Rocha has brought baseball back, believing the program will give the school visibility that will help lead to a significant increase in enrollment.
In order to complete a schedule on short notice, Grant agreed to a high number of road games, including one at Porterville Thursday, February 14. In some cases, the opponent agreed to play at West LA next season.
There will be a home doubleheader against Saddleback College on Saturday, February 16 beginning at 11 a.m.
West LA’s record is 2-4. Soon it will begin playing Western State Conference Southern Division games. The conference champion last season was Pierce College.