SAMOHI — The years on a dusty field, turning girls into ball players, have given Head Coach Debbie Skaggs a world of fulfillment, but there’s something missing.
In her 24 years at Santa Monica High School, the one thing that has eluded the accomplished coach is a California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section championship.
In her last season coaching the Vikings, Skaggs may have her best shot yet of accomplishing that lofty goal.
“I want to win CIF,” Skaggs said while she was on vacation in Arizona, watching her son and former Samohi star Tyler Skaggs pitch in the Anaheim Angels’ minor league spring training program. “This is the year, if we’re going to do it. We have a lot of seniors.”
Those seniors include four players who have signed letters of intent to play for NCAA Division I schools next season. Shortstop Kalie Nakao (Hawaii), catcher Emma Woo (Tennessee Tech), pitcher Celisha Walker (New Mexico State) and outfielder Hayley Condon (San Jose State) give Skaggs a formidable squad that has the ability to create its own destiny, she said.
“We have the experience, but it’s the team that is playing the best at the end of the season that wins it all,” Skaggs said. “The better team doesn’t always win.”
She likes what she’s seen thus far as the Samohi Vikings have amassed a 9-5 record against a schedule that has included games against the likes of El Toro, Los Alamitos and Torrance South.
The team’s highlight to date was the matchup with Los Alamitos in the semifinals of the MaxPreps Tournament of Champions in Arizona. The team fell, 3-1, and lost some of the momentum that the Vikings enjoyed during a 4-0 start to the season.
“We shot ourselves in the foot [during the MaxPreps Tournament],” Skaggs said. “It showed us that there are things that we need to work on.”
The team will work on those finer points during the next few weeks as the team enjoys an extended break between games. Before the Vikings return to action on April 13 against Ocean League rival Inglewood, Skaggs hopes her team tightens up the loose ends and prepares for a stretch run that she hopes includes an extended stay in the playoffs.
“Overall, this is the most talented team I’ve had,” Skaggs said. “It’s a pretty tight group, we’ll see what happens.”