Culver City High's Mike Greenwood stood in the visitors' dugout at Camarillo, glanced toward the mound, then rolled his eyes.
"I don't know what we were doing," the losing pitcher muttered, shaking his head. "I guess we just didn't hit the ball. We probably could have played better in the field, I don't know. I really don't know what happened."
Of course he really knows what happened: Camarillo posted a 5-1 first-round Southern Section 4-A playoff victory over the Centaurs. But minutes after the game, the senior right-hander still couldn't believe what happened.
This may seem odd considering that Camarillo, the surprise winner of the Marmonte League title, put on a pretty convincing display of baseball. The Scorpions won their 10th-straight game behind the relief pitching of senior Joe Solomon. Coming in support of winning pitcher Mike Chase, who was replaced after 3 innings, it was the right-hander's seventh save this season,
"I wish Chase could have gone a little longer," Camarillo Coach Ken Wagner said. "But Solomon is so good in relief, and the way these playoffs are, one loss takes you out. You have to do whatever you have to do to win."
What Solomon had to do was face Centaurs Rob MacMurray with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, after Greenwood had singled in a run. Solomon fanned MacMurray to end the inning.
In the fifth, with the Scorpions leading 4-1, the Centaurs again loaded the bases, only to have Solomon strike out Ken Kamba. Solomon had five strikeouts and two walks and gave up only two hits.
While Solomon was putting the lid on Culver City's offense, Camarillo was putting its own into high gear.
Third basemen Charlie Fiacco broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the second by blasting a solo homer over the center-field fence, the ball eventually landing somewhere near the Scorpions 50-yard line. It was the seventh home run this season for the senior who will play for UCLA next season.
"Everybody told me he was good," said Greenwood, who served up the fastball that Fiacco ripped over the football bleachers. "I tried to keep it inside and jam him. He just came around on it."
"That ball would have been an out in any other ballpark," said Culver City Coach Dave Ruebsamen, looking toward center field. "But I guess those bleachers were there for us too."
Camarillo (19-7, 10-2) scored again in the third when junior Travis Willis scampered home while Culver City was turning a double play. The Centaurs scored their only run in the top of the fourth on a run-batted-in single by Greenwood that scored Tim McDonnell.
In the Scorpions' half of the fourth, Fiacco scored on a sacrifice fly by Hugh Heath, and center fielder Kevin Madden scored on an error by third baseman David Dawson, as the Scorpions increased their lead, 4-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Camarillo scored again when Centaurs catcher Rick Niles made a wild throw while attempting to catch Angel Barroso stealing third. As the ball rolled into left field, Barroso rounded third and scored.
"It's a good win for us. It's good to get by the first round," said Wagner, whose Scorpions will play St. Francis, 7-5 winners over Bishop Amat, in the second round.
"We've been playing like this for 10 straight games. We're taking advantage of every situation," he said. "We had good hitting and good pitching. Scott Cline and Ken Sirak came through with two double plays. Fiacco hit that shot. These guys make it tough on everybody."