Logan Whitchurch, a transfer from Crespi High, has pitched the first complete game of the Santa Monica High baseball season.
Whitchurch, who has also been playing third base, was the Vikings’ starting pitcher for the first time Saturday, March 15, and worked the entire seven innings in a 6-2 non-league win over perennial powerhouse El Segundo High.
El Segundo’s John Stevenson, the dean of prep baseball coaches in Southern California, has more than 1,000 career wins on his resume. By contrast, Samohi’s Rob Duron is in his first season.
Last season Samohi, coached by Kevin Brockway, eliminated El Segundo in the CIF playoffs and continued on to the championship game at Dodger Stadium, where it lost.
Duron pointed out that El Segundo wasn’t at full strength for Saturday’s game, having played (and won) a doubleheader two days earlier against Redondo.
Still, it was an impressive win for Samohi, which had lost to Windward earlier in the week, 11-7. Twelve Samohi batters struck out in that game.
Of the Windward game, Duron said: “It showed that our players have to work harder and I have to do a better job of preparing them.”
Samohi has two pitchers, junior Tyler Skaggs and senior Paul Salazar, who were key contributors to last season’s Ocean League championship team. Whitchurch improves the pitching depth.
Whitchurch is a junior who throws right-handed and bats left-handed. When Duron decided that the newcomer would pitch against El Segundo, the coach asked if he wanted to start or relieve.
“He said ‘start,’ Duron revealed. “And he stayed in the whole way.”
Samohi had four doubles in the game – by Skaggs, catcher Colter Johnson, Nick Montanari, and left fielder Vince Lawrence.
Last season Lawrence was the Vikings’ catcher but it’s likely he’ll be an outfielder this season.
Samohi will have a heavy schedule of games in the final two weeks of March in preparation for the league schedule. There doesn’t appear to be a clear-cut favorite to win the league title.