SAMOHI — A slow 4-6 start to the season could indicate that the Vikings are in a rebuilding year.
Yet, Santa Monica High School Head Coach Sheldon Philip-Guide believes that his team’s record is a bit deceiving. He admits that his team has yet to play up to its potential, but he said a difficult early season schedule against some of the top talent in Southern California has factored into his win-loss percentage.
“It seems to me that when we play these difficult teams we make more mistakes than usual,” Philip-Guide said.
Another factor for his team’s somewhat slow start is the fact that not many prospective opponents wanted to play at Samohi. Although it’s hard to own up to for school officials, Samohi’s baseball field has for years been considered a poor playing surface by visitors and more than a few Vikings players and coaches. That has resulted in just three home games for the Vikings this year.
Philip-Guide, in his first year coaching the team, has been quick to rectify that through fundraising efforts. He and a small group of parents and alumni banded together during the off-season to create the Santa Monica Diamond Club to coordinate fundraising efforts. The group’s efforts have brought in tens of thousands of dollars, some of which have been used to improve the field’s condition.
The team and coaching staff is happy with the results, but the efforts were too late in the process to use it to entice non-league teams to play at Samohi.
“Lots of teams didn’t want to come play us at home for obvious reasons,” Philip-Guide said. “Hopefully next year we’ll turn it around.”
The team played on Wednesday against St. Francis. Samohi lost, 9-7, but Philip-Guide said he liked the way his team hung in there.
“We played them tough and I think there are things that we need to work on, obviously,” Philip-Guide said. “We’re working on it.”
The Vikings will get another opportunity to continue its work in progress on Saturday against Buena High School. The game is part of the Babe Herman Tournament.