MITCH CHORTKOFF Mirror Sports Editor
How else could the 2009 baseball season at Santa Monica High be described other than the Tyler Skaggs saga?
Whenever the heralded 6-foot-4 lefthanded`pitcher started a game dozens of scouts from major league teams showed up, complete with their radar guns to measure his pitches.
Samohi had other hot prospects in its past, including Rick Monday, the first player ever selected in the draft. But that was many years ago and the scouting process wasn’t as sophisticated.
With Skaggs now a member of the California Angels organization, normalcy should return to the scene this season.
The Vikings don’t have another prospect of that caliber.
They do have a new coach, Sheldon Philip-Guide, and they do have another pitcher of interest to scouts, Alonzo Gonzalez, although on a smaller scale. But they should be able to conduct their business without so much scrutiny.
Lacking a power hitter like Cody Decker of their recent past, the Vikings may have to scrap for runs as they did with last season’s coach, Rob Duron.
They figure as a contender in the Ocean League, particularly if Philip-Guide successfully sorts out an array of pitching candidates.
Gonzalez is a 6-foot-3 lefthander and scouts like his potential, but he gave up too many walks last season and didn’t win one of the two Viking starting berths for league games.
Philip-Guide spent his first few weeks as coach watching his players in off-season games, such as American Legion competition. He’ll audition candidates in early season tournaments, and when the 10 league games arrive we’ll see what decisions he’s made.
As for Duron, he remains a teacher at Samohi and is helping out another high school with its baseball program.