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SAMOHI — It seems that Head Coach Debbie Skaggs’ deck is missing an ace.

Santa Monica High School’s softball team has been without the services of junior Celisha Walker for the past couple of games, but the specter of losing the star pitcher for a protracted period of time will force Skaggs to look elsewhere for quality innings.

“Having Celisha out makes a difference in the pitching,” Skaggs said. “It changes everything.

“We’ll also miss her bat as well.”

Walker, who is nursing a pulled oblique muscle first suffered during a 5-6 loss at Fullerton, will visit with doctors during the next couple of days to determine how much time the reigning Ocean League MVP will miss.

In her absence, junior Kaile Nakao has been called upon to fill the void at the top of the rotation. Skaggs praised Nakao’s effort and believes she is capable of being a no. 1 starter despite the fact that she hasn’t pitched since her freshman year.

Nakao pitched well during the Vikings’ most recent game against Redondo on Wednesday. Samohi won the road game, 6-2.

Next up for the Vikings is a double header against South Torrance today at 2:30 p.m. at Samohi.

Lemberger, Kunnu named MOPs<p>

A season that saw both the boys and girls basketball teams reach the semifinals of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division IA playoffs has yielded yet another bounty.

Junior guard Thea Lemberger and senior Kunnu Shofu were named the Most Outstanding Players in the Ocean League for the 2009 season.

Jennie Harding was named to the girls’ first team while senior Ellessee Brandis and sophomore Kristina “KJ” Johnson made the second team.

Lemberger was also selected for the CIF-SS Division IA first team. Harding earned a spot on the second team.

For the boys team, Dante Bowie was named to the Ocean League first team. Jerome Hatchet made the second team. Kunnu was also named to the CIF-SS Division IA first team.

Girls Head Coach Marty Verdugo said that the awards help validate what was the most successful season in school history. With all but two players returning, Verdugo believes that next season may hold more of the same for his squad.

“I think we’re going to be strong,” he said. “We’re going to miss a couple of veterans, but we have a good core.”

daniela@smdp.com

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