If the Centaur bus can find a diamond lane, the long drive to the Hemet High School diamond may put the Culver High baseball team in a good place for its first round playoff game, this Friday, 3:15 p.m., against the second place Bulldogs.
Head coach Rick Prieto prepares his squad for long road trips annually by participating in a San Diego tournament during Spring vacation break. Culver City High School had success this year at the event, defeating teams from La Jolla, San Diego, Bountiful (UT) and Auburn.
Splitting games with Santa Monica, last week, and Morningside, the prior week, the 7-3 Centaurs (18-11 overall) placed second in the Ocean League behind the Vikings.
Finishing the season on a four game win streak before losing a pair in the final week of the season to league champion Paloma Valley of Menifee, the Hemet Bulldogs took second in the Sunbelt League (12-3 in league, 16-9 overall).
The Centaurs scored twice in the second inning and came up empty the rest of the game in a 5-2 loss to Santa Monica, last Thursday, to conclude the regular season.
Spotting his fast ball and tossing off-speed pitches for strikes to keep the Vikings off balance, Eric Goodrich held Santa Monica to a run going into the sixth inning. An error, squeeze play and bloop single tallied two runs to put Santa Monica on top for good, 3-2.
“Eric pitched an outstanding game. Few balls left the infield,” said Prieto, whose Centaurs committed two errors and collected only four hits. Goodrich was also dominant in a 12-0 win the prior week against Morningside.
Tyler Mark hurled a complete game, last Tuesday, against Santa Monica, 6-2.
Adam Padilla opened the game with a double to right field and scored on ground out to first base.
Mark sacrificed a run in, and Garrett Gemgnani singled in another for two more runs in the third inning.
In the fourth frame, Adrian Campos reached base on an error, and Devin Sylvester doubled to left center. Ryan Mulvihill singled up the middle to drive in Campos and Sylvester.
“This was one of our better games. We played errorless baseball and hit the ball well,” said Prieto.
Patrick Cousineau went 1 for 2, scored a run and had an RBI.
Goodrich pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits while striking out three batters, and Rincon relieved with two scoreless frames, as the Centaurs pounded out 14 hits the prior week to defeat the Monarchs, 12-0.
Rincon, Daniel Byun, Gemgnani, Campos, and Mulvihill (two run homer) each had two hits.
Morningside defeat the Centaurs, 4-3, in nine innings two days earlier.
Trailing 3-0 in the fifth inning, Jimmy Seay lifted a fly ball to right field, which was dropped, scoring Cousineau and Michael Lee. Rincon scored from third base on Gemgnani's single to knot the game, 3-3.
Lee relieved Mark in the sixth inning, pitching 3 2/3 innings until the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Lee gave up a single and walk. Rincon came in to replace Lee. On the first pitch, the batter hit a ground ball that caromed off the second basemen’s knee. The runner from second base scored on the over throw to first basemen Jimmy Seay, allowing the winning run to score.
“We lost, but Tyler Mark pitched well, and Michael Lee pitched a good game in relief,” said Prieto.
The freshman Centaur baseball team and coach Michael Levy last Thursday won the Ocean League title.
The Culver City High School girls softball team (12-14 overall 6-4 in league) hosted Cabrillo of Lompoc, the fourth place team in the Los Padres League, this past Tuesday, in a CIF playoff wild card game. The third place Lady Centaurs lost at Santa Monica, last Thursday, 10-0, and blanked Beverly Hills, 9-0, last Tuesday.