It would be easy to look at four straight losses to begin Sheldon Philip-Guide’s career as the Santa Monica High baseball coach and be concerned.
Most likely, that would be a mistake.
While the Vikings have started slowly, subtle changes have been made in the program, with lomg-term success as the goal.
And the team did get its first victory in the fifth game, defeating San Luis Obispo, 7-4, on March 13.
The coach of a future opponent who scouted Samohi in one of its first few games was impressed.
“The program is very organized,” he said. “The parents are involved and the facility looks better because some money has been found to make improvements.”
Phili-Guide wants Samohi baseball to be viewed more favorably than it has been in recent years.
“Look at our schedule this season, We have a lot of away games,” he says. “That’s because our place hasn’t been viewed as a good one to come and play.”
When told about favorable comments from the opposing coach Philip-Guide responded by saying “we’re trying.”
It was likely the team would get off to a slow start. It no longer had Tyler Skaggs, a pitcher who graduated and became the 40th player chosen in the major league draft. It was adjusting to a new coach with new ideas.
“I thought we’d be a little more competitive in the early games,” Philip-Guide said. “But it’s picked up in the last couple of games.
“The two-, three- and four-hitters in our lineup are seeing the ball better now.” He referred to Adam Padilla, Julian Solomita and Matt Stancil.
Solomita has had an impressive start. He threw out three baserunners and had two hits in obe game.
Philip-Guide needs more time to determine the makeup of his pitching staff.
Alonz Gonzalaz, who he considers his Number. 1 starter, didn’t fare well in the opening game of the season but came back as the xloser in the win over sab Luis Obispo.
“He was frustrated by his first game and wanted to get back on the mound,” said Philip-Guide. “He pitched in relief and did a great job.”
Ethan Corn also had one troublesome outing but fared much better in a relief role.
The Vikings will continue to play a demanding non-league schedule, traveling to Mira Costa on March 17 and Westlake on March 21.
“I don’t want it to be easy,” said Philip-Guide. “There are a lot of good teams and if we’re fortunate enough to make the playoffs those are the teams we’ll see. We have to be prepared.”
Among its Ocean League rivals, Culver City is shaping up as the team Samohi will have to beat.
Culver City coach Rick Prieto has a high-scoring, veteran team and his two starting pitchers, Tyler Mark and Eric Goodrich, are off to good starts.
Mirror Sports Editorsports@smmirror.com