Centaur Baseball Faces SamoHi Again

En fuego! Centaur baseball punctuated its fast start in 2019 with a very convincing 9-1 victory over archrival Santa Monica High in the Ocean League opener at Culver City High. The Centaurs improved their season record to 10-1 and play the Vikings again in the home-and-away series this Thursday afternoon at Santa Monica High.

"No question a rival," said Centaur head coach Rick Prieto. "We've been look forward to the league opener for quite a while with all the rain delays and practice adjustments. We finally had an opportunity to do what we do best and that's play baseball."

Culver City immediately jumped on the Vikings, scoring four runs in the first two innings. Nathan Carmichael singled and scored on Mason Le's triple. Jack Bickerton drove in Le with a groundball to second base to make the score 2-0 after one inning.

Alonzo Reyes and Malik Clayton opened the second inning with back-to-back singles. Dylan Singh advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Carmichael walked to load the bases setting up a sacrifice fly RBI by Le to centerfield scoring Reyes. Bickerton's double drove home Clayton for a 4-0 lead after two innings.

"We're on a good roll right now. We keep pushing team concept. It goes back to our philosophy. This is going to be a team effort across the board for the season," said Prieto.

Meanwhile, Santa Monica had very little success against Culver High's sophomore southpaw ace, Adrian Montenegro. He held the Vikings scoreless over the first three innings, scattering four hits while the defense mopped up the outs with several outstanding plays. Montenegro allowed six hits and struck out five batters in five innings pitched.

The Vikings finally scored their lone run in the fourth inning on a passed ball with runners on second and third. Montenegro was up to the task, killing the potential rally by striking out the next batter and getting the last batter on a grounder to third.

Prieto: "We have to give a lot of credit to Adrian Montenegro because anytime Santa Monica did get base runners he stepped it up. He dug deep. And that's what it's going to take to win these games in league and against playoff contenders."

"When you get into a situation where you have the lead and then they start to chip away, if you're able to stop that and put a halt to it then it sends the momentum back to us. It gives us the opportunity to get into the dugout and start getting more runs again."

Culver City increased the lead to 7-1 in the fifth inning. Bickerton and Joaquin Hines walked and advanced on Tanner Duve's text-book sacrifice bunt. Justin Roulston was intentionally walked to load the bases. Reyes walked, scoring Bickerton. Mason Kim drove in Hines with an infield single. Roulston scored on Singh's RBI grounder to short.

The Centaurs scored the last two runs in the sixth inning. Le reached first base on an error. He stole second base and scored on a deep triple to right-centerfield by Roque. Hines singled in Roque on a sharp liner up the middle for a 9-1 lead.

The Vikings last gasp came when their leadoff man walked to open the sixth inning. That prompted Coach Prieto to bring in right-handed sophomore Jake Glickman to relieve Montenegro. Glickman got his first batter out on a popup to second. The next Viking grounded up the middle, Glickman snared it, threw to Le at second base, who threw to Bickerton stretching from first base: tailor-made double-play to end the inning.

"In that situation even though it's still 7-1, this is baseball. You can never be content and always on top of things," said Prieto. "The first batter walks on four pitches. I thought that was a good time to bring Jake Glickman in. This game can swing very easily. And Jake did the job."

"We had an opportunity to bring in a couple of pitchers today, a couple off the bench and put a couple of players in the field after our starting lineup. Everybody played as if it was a 2-1 ballgame. The concept is: every inning, every out."


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