When you are several games ahead in the standings, you can afford to take more chances. And when you are playing as well as the Palisades High baseball team has been, everything you try seems to work. That was the case when the Dolphins traveled to Fairfax for Monday’s Western League game. Co-coaches Tom Seyler and Kelly Loftus gambled by lifting starter Geoff Schwartz after just two innings with the Dolphins clinging to a 1-0 lead. Their thinking was to save their ace for Friday’s Easter Tournament game against Sun Valley Poly’a game that could impact potential playoff seedings. Pali’s coaches need not have worried. Matt Skolnik, who normally plays second base, proved more than adequate on the mound, allowing just two hits in five innings of relief as the Dolphins remained unbeaten in league with a 7-2 victory. The one area of concern for Loftus was the Dolphins’ uncharacteristic six errors’the last of which led to the Lions’ two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. ‘We played a sloppy game and we’ll have to clean that up as we come down the stretch,’ Loftus said. ‘Other than that, it’s hard to be disappointed. We keep finding ways to win.’ The key hit Monday was a lead-off double by first baseman David Bromberg in the top of the fifth inning which began a six-run rally. Bromberg, a left-handed batter, ripped the first pitch inside the left field line then scored after back-to-back singles by Skolnik and Kevin Seto. Another single by All-City short stop Dylan Cohen scored Skolnik and a throwing error scored Seto. Adam Franks singled to score Cohen, Alex Thompson reached on an error and Manny Perez doubled to give Palisades (16-3 overall, 11-0 in league) a commanding 7-0 lead. ‘It was outside and I went with it,’ Bromberg said of the double that seemed to awaken the slumbering Pali bats. ‘From here on in, we need to focus on being more ready to play and not making errors. Still, a win is a win and we’ll take it.’ Bromberg is used to winning. As a 12-year-old, he played on the North Venice Dodgers travel squad with Pali teammates Cohen and [center fielder] Turhan Folse that finished 27-0. That team was coached by Bromberg’s dad, Mike, presently one of the Dolphins’ coaches. Bromberg struck out batters in five innings in Pali’s 6-2 victory over University last Thursday. Folse said going undefeated is not something he or his teammates are concerned about. ‘We knew we had the ability to win it [league] before the season started. We knew we had the talent. Usually you don’t think about winning every game but of course it would great if we can do it. We all have winning attitudes.’ After Skolnik struck out the side in the fifth inning, Seyler emptied his bench in the top of the sixth, giving Monte Hickok, Bryan Leishman, Nick Mansdorf, Hunter Franks and Sam Skolnik chances to hit. Even Schwartz got a rare opportunity to bat and he beat out an infield single to the delight of his teammates. ‘We could’ve tried to mercy them, but I’d rather get as many kids into the game as I can,’ Seyler said. ‘These kids have worked hard and they deserve a shot. When we have an opportunity to play everyone, I’m going to do it. I’ll be happy just winning our league, I don’t care if we go undefeated.’
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.