SAMOHI — Home fans will finally get a chance to see the much-heralded Tyler Skaggs take the mound today against Ocean League rival Inglewood.
The tall lefty, coming off a no-hitter against Lompoc last week, is looking to collect his second victory of the season and keep his team in the hunt for a league title.
The cadre of pro scouts who have followed Skaggs’ progress all season are expected to be in attendance. Many mock Major League Baseball drafts have Skaggs going as high as the first round in June’s selection process.
But before Skaggs (1-2, 2.15 ERA, 54 strikeouts, 32 innings) can even think of playing pro ball he will have to face an Inglewood team that is likely smarting from a 3-14 loss against Samohi on Tuesday.
“(Inglewood) never stopped playing [the other day],” Head Coach Rob Duron said before practice on Tuesday. “Can’t ask for anything more than that from a ball club.”
Inglewood may be sporting a disappointing 1-12 record this season, but Duron expects them to come to the diamond ready to play.
Tuesday’s victory snapped a three-game losing streak dating back to Skaggs’ gem last week against Lompoc. Included in the losses was a 4-11 defeat to nearby Palisades High School on April 18.
Junior lefty Alonzo Gonzalez got the start in the Palisades game and was credited with five earned runs in four-and-two-thirds innings. Although the Vikings lost the game, senior Vince Lawrence went two for three with a run batted in. Phillip Dove, a player Duron is high on, went two for four with an RBI.
The Vikings head into today’s 3 p.m. game at Samohi with a 10-10 overall record and 2-1 league mark. The team trails first-place Culver City by half a game. The two teams will not face each other until the final two games of the regular season in mid May.
With all but two non-league games to go, the Vikings find themselves immersed in the league portion of their schedule. Last season, Samohi went a perfect 10-0 in league play, but Duron expects the competition to be a notch tougher this season.
He feels that his squad is ready for the challenge, having played a number of tough opponents during non-league games. Games against powerhouses Crespi and Royal, while not winning efforts for the Vikings, served as preparation for the league schedule and perhaps the post season.
“That is what we were doing all season,” Duron said. “We were getting ready for now.
“That’s what we talked about as a team all year.”
Duron can only hope that the approach has paid off, but only results on the ball field will tell if the team is truly ready for what’s to come.