It’s been a turbulent baseball season at Santa Monica High, but the team’s goals remain within reach.
While attention has been focused on pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ scrutiny prior to the June big league draft and some parents’ criticism of Coach Rob Duron, the Vikings won all three games last week, defeating Inglewood 14-3 and 7-0 in Ocean League contests and Ventura, 2-1.
“Our three goals are to win 20 games, win the Ocean League and win the CIF,” said Duron. “All three remain within reach.”
It would be a stretch for the Vikings to win a CIF championship that eluded more cohesive Samohi teams in the recent past, especially since Samohi has been elevated to the more competitive Division 3 for the playoffs from Division 4.
However, with a 12-10 record,the team can at least attempt to inch closer to the 20-win mark. It has six more league games.
After Logan Whitchurch pitched the Tuesday win at Inglewood in which Samohi scored 12 runs in the second inning, Skaggs made his first home start of his senior season on Thursday.
As usual he was inspected by a horde of professional scouts. Skaggs pitched six innings before closer Drew Hammon completed the shutout.
Skaggs said he wasn’t at his best, the proof being four hit batters. But he was good enough.
On Saturday, junior Alonzo Gonzalez pitched 6 1/3 no-hit innings but walked seven batters. When he walked the final two in the seventh inning he was removed. Ventura then scored the game’s first run, but Samohi rallied for two in the bottom half for the victory.
Skaggs, who plays first base when he isn’t pitching, hit an opposite field double to begin the winning rally. Earlier he had made a scoop of a low throw that prevented two runs from scoring.
Skaggs’ double was followed by Whchurch’s bloop single, a successful squeeze bunt by Matias Letelier and Philip Dove’s game-winning single.
.It’s not unusual for parents to lobby for playing time for their sons or to question the knowledge of the coach. Baseball coaches at many schools regard such criticism as part of the job.
However, it seems that it went to the extreme at Samohi an unprecedented level recently when a parent who coaches another Samohi sport wrote a letter to the editor of another Santa Monica newspaper ripping into the coach and saying he should be removed.
Curiously, the administration took no action against the letter writer.
Duron coached Samohi to a 10-0 league record last season and the Vikings are 3-1 in Ocean League play now. The two other league contenders, Culver City and Hawthorne, split two games against each other last week. Samohi has split with Hawthorne and not played Culver City yet.