Players from Westside high schools have helped West Los Angeles College field a competitive team in the early weeks of its return to baseball following a 21-year absence.
The program was ended in 1986 due to budget cuts but was brought back this year.
Since Santa Monica College doesn’t have a baseball team nine players from Santa Monica schools are on the West LA squad.
West LA won one of three games against strong opposition in San Diego on the February 1-3 weekend and has a 2-3 record, having proven to be a hard-hitting team.
“We were behind in all three games but came back and had a chance to win them all,” said coach Bob Grant.
West LA lost to Southwestern, the No. 9-ranked team among Southern California community colleges, 9-8. West LA recovered from an 8-0 deficit, aided by a five-run rally in the eighth inning, but fell short.
Relief pitcher David White from St. Monica worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
West LA then defeated San Diego City College, 7-6, after trailing, 6-2. A key hit in a four-run seventh was a single by Jose Campos, from Santa Monica High.
Dylan Cohen, West LA’s third baseman from Palisades High, hit a home run and walked three times. Left fielder David Viviano from New Roads had three hits and Milan Depillars from Samohi had one.
West LA then lost another 9-8 game, this one to powerful Grossmont College, despite three scoreless relief innings from Stuart Boardman, formerly of Santa Monica High.
Ricky Gutierrez, from University High, hit a 430-foot home run for West LA and a double.
West LA is scheduled to make its home debut Wednesday February 6 at 2 p.m. against Cero Cosso. The team has a home doubleheader set against Saddleback Saturday, February 16 starting at 11 a.m.