The future of Santa Monica High softball was on display Thursday, March 22 in a doubleheader sweep of South Torrance.
The present and the future.
The Vikings’ lineup was comprised primarily of freshmen in the 3-2 and 4-3 wins. Most of the players were 14-year-old girls who came to the school this year.
“This is pretty much what our lineup is going to be,” said Coach Debbie Skaggs. “I’m in my 20th year at Samohi and this is the best freshman class I’ve had.”
As Ocean League games begin, the Vikings have an 11-2 record and are favored to capture their fourth consecutive league championship.
Most of the new Samohi players were on the 2003 Santa Monica Girls Fastpitch Softball League team that became national champions. The next two years they scattered to various travel ball teams during the summers.
“It is nice they are reunited at Santa Monica High now,” said Jim Hall of Santa Monica Girls Fastpitch Softball.
The group includes Kailee Nakao, Holly Elander, Cienna Guerrero, Synthia Perez, Hailey Sheridan, Haley Condon, Andrea Linares and Emma Woo.
With star pitcher Hanna-Rose Peters unavailable against South Torrance because of a knee injury, Nakao pitched the first game and worked four innings in relief of Sheridan in the second. Nakao, also one of the Vikings’ best hitters, has made the biggest impression of the newcomers.
Some of the Vikings’ other star players are undergraduates too. Left fielder Crystal Perez, a junior, threw out a South Torrance runner at the plate in the seventh inning of the opening game when the score was tied at 2.
Sophomore Yanette Guzman plays second base and junior Holly Hoskinson was in center field.
Peters attended Thursday’s doubleheader while on crutches. On Saturday she was a spectator at Samohi’s baseball game against Long Beach Poly, walking without the crutches.
Skaggs said Peters has undergone an MRI and the extent of the injury will be determined. After playing this week the Samohi softball team will have two weeks without a game and the hope is that Peters will return after that.
Samohi was in the Bay League for its 2004 championship and has won the Ocean League the last two years.
Even with such a young squad the Vikings are expected to do well in the Ocean League again this season.
Two star players from last season’s team have moved on to college. All-CIF Christine Foley is playing first base at Loyola Marymount and is the second-leading hitter on the team. Infielder Lana Bowie is at Arizona.Besides coaching the team, Skaggs attends varsity baseball games. Her son, Tyler Skaggs, is a sophomore reserve, and the 6-foot-4 lefthander is regarded as an outstanding pitching prospect. He has been on the mound for only four innings this season but earned a save against Redondo, getting the final outs in a 5-4 victory.