In the first inning Thursday, Richard Armendariz of Santa Monica High looked like the perfect antidote for Hawthorne’s hot-one-day, cold-the-next bats.
Armendariz walked the first four Hawthorne batters, forcing in a run, and prompting a trip to the mound from his coach.
But once Armendariz forced the Cougars to swing, he was nearly flawless. Armendariz settled down and went the distance for a one-hitter, leading Santa Monica to an 8-1 victory in the Bay League opener at Hawthorne.
Hawthorne’s only hit came in the fifth, when leadoff batter Tarick Brock dropped a bunt down the first-base line and beat it out for a single.
First-year Hawthorne Coach Greg Goode, who played shortstop at the school in 1973-74, did not have an explanation for his team’s lack of offense.
“Our hitters look confused up there,” Goode said. “They look backwards. It’s very confusing for us to get only one hit off their pitcher. We had a chance to knock him out in the first, but we let him off the hook.”
Hawthorne (3-3 overall) got its run when Armendariz walked Moises Barba, forcing home shortstop Dennis Stone.
Santa Monica (3-2) didn’t lack offense, however. The Vikings had 15 hits off Hawthorne starter Miguel Leyva (2-1) and reliever Freddie Gomez.
Leadoff hitter Jesse Martin went four for four with a double and scored two runs to lead Santa Monica. Viking third baseman Sheldon Philip-Guide and right fielder Zach Mishimura added three hits apiece.
Philip-Guide got Santa Monica on the board in the top of the first, driving in Brett Schafer from third with a single for the first of his three runs batted in. Philip-Guide broke open the game with a two-run single in the fifth, which gave Santa Monica a 6-1 lead.
Goode is particularly frustrated with his team’s lack of consistency on offense. The Cougars were batting well over the weekend, pounding out 12 hits in a 9-6 victory over Rolling Hills on Saturday, then beating Long Beach Poly, 10-4, on Tuesday.
But in Hawthorne’s three losses, the bats have been virtually silent.
Thursday, the Cougars hit only four balls out of the infield, including Armando Fernandez’s fly ball to the warning track in the fifth.
“We have the most raw talent this school has had in the last 10 years,” Goode said. “We have a lot of very good athletes who aren’t really schooled right now.