Santa Monica High School’s varsity Baseball team lost to Simi Valley 7-0 in what was a one sided contest. It was their third straight loss in the Easton Tournament having previously lost to both Chatsworth and Thousand Oaks.
The Vikings played below their potential – committing key fielding errors in the second and third innings to give up a total of five unearned runs that turned out to be insurmountable against a tough pitching and fielding Pioneer team. The Vikings managed to get only three hits the entire game and only one runner to third base.
The Pioneer pitcher, Reese Schmidt sailed through five innings giving up just three hits and striking out four batters. He was replaced by Spencer Dubach in the sixth and Cody Ramer in the seventh, who combined for two perfect innings and two strikeouts.
Vikings pitcher, Brandon Hirschberger pitched much better than the score would indicate. He gave up only one earned run over six innings, but it was the walks combined with errors that were the difference.
In the second inning, what should have been a double play ball was thrown high to second baseman Christian Rodriguez, who couldn’t hold on, and everyone was safe. Then a dropped fly ball in right, loaded the bases and a fielder’s choice enabled the first run to come home.
In the third inning, the game unraveled for the Vikings – starting when Hirschberger walked the leadoff hitter, followed by a bunt single, and a double steal. With runners on second and third – he fought back to strike out the next batter on three pitches, but a ground ball to shortstop was booted, allowing both runners to come home. He then wild pitched the runner to third, who subsequently was able to tag up on a long fly ball to center. The following batter, lined a single to left, but the inning finally ended, when the next batter hit a line drive out to Viking’s second baseman, Rodriguez.
The damage was done and the Vikings were unable to mount any kind of an attack to catch the Pioneers. The Pioneers scored two more runs off of Johnny Barry who relieved Hirschberger, in the top half of the seventh inning.
“You can’t win, if you don’t field and hit. We’re having trouble translating the fundamentals that we work so hard on in practice – into the games”, said Vikings Coach Sheldon Philip-Guide. He was definitely disappointed in the outcome and the way his team played, but added, he felt a lot of the reason for the Vikings slow start has to do with their lack of game experience. “We have some good ballplayers on this team, but last year they didn’t get enough playing time and it’s showing this year. We’re a work in progress.”
There were some signs of the Vikings potential to win turned in by pitcher Brendon Hirschberger and the bang-bang double play that was started by third baseman, Danny Calvan, to Christian Rodriguez to David Tyre-vigil that ended the Pioneer rally in the seventh.
The work in progress continues this Thursday, March 10 at 3 p,m, – when the Vikings play the Loyola Cubs at Loyola High School, in the fourth game of the five game, Easton Tournament.