Not only have the Santa Monica High girls won the last two Ocean League softball championships, the Vikings are favored to be strong contenders for the title again this season.Santa Monica and Culver City were the league’s powers a year ago and both have key players back. Their rivalry came down to a pair of showdown games late last season and Samohi won them both.It will be Debbie Skaggs’ 18th year as the Samohi coach, a reign filled with many accomplishments the construction of a state-of-the-art campus softball field which helped elevate the program among them.Two star players and strong pitching are features of the Viking squad. Catcher Christine Foley was named all-CIF last season and shortstop Lara Bowie is an emerging talent.Hannah Peters, who pitched in a CIF playoff game as a sophomore and won, gives the Vikings a solid presence on the mound. Senior Tyra Maxwell is another experienced pitcher and sophomore Alyson Herman will get some opportunities.Skaggs made several position changes midway through last season that worked out well and the Vikings reached the second round of the playoffs.Prior to opening their new season the team and Coach Skaggs recently participated in a clinic for Santa Monica Fast Pitch, a local youth program. Numerous players from the program have gone on to become Viking players.Santa Monica will open its season in the Downey Tournament.Culver City’s championship bid will be led by Porsche Boddicker, who was a dominant pitcher last season as a sophomore.Boddicker is off to a good start this season. She struck out 10 batters last week in an 8-0 win over Lawndale in the St. Monica Tournament.“I’m excited about our team but we are quite young,’’ said veteran coach John Sargent.The Centaurs also have an attractive campus field which is just two years old.Santa Monica will host Culver City April 25 and will play at Culver two days later.Two other teams are hopeful of emerging in the league race. Hawthorne hasn’t made the playoffs in six years but has some important returning players. Morningside’s entire starting lineup returns.
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