He said that at Oxnard High he is trying to rebuild a program that hasn't had much success of late. "When you're up here going through the different phases of rebuilding and you read about the success of Santa Monica, it's a little hard to swallow," he said.
Diaz, who coached Santa Monica for three years, said the Schwengels and the other players he groomed were part of a five-year plan he had instituted for bolstering the team's fortunes.
Asked about the team's chances this year, he said, "Physically, they can do a lot of things.
He said that Oxnard and Santa Monica both played in a tournament this season in Mexicali, competing against two Mexican teams, and that Santa Monica won the tournament with ease. Kurt started one of the games and pitched a no-hitter.
"They (Santa Monica) are frightening," he said. "Each guy in the one-through-nine (batting) spots can hit the ball as hard as anybody else. The guys who aren't starting (for Frierson) definitely would start for me here."
Frierson served as an assistant to Diaz last year with Jose Lopez, a former head coach who is assisting again this year. Frierson said he was sorry to see Diaz leave and that he stayed with the team "because I love it and I'm able to support myself as an actor."
Santa Monica has lost only five games this year, including a defeat by Culver City that snapped a 15-game Viking winning streak and then a loss to Beverly Hills early last week before bouncing back to beat the Normans.
Frierson said his players "have a high expectancy of winning" and that when one of them makes an outstanding fielding play or hits the ball a mile, the others ask how he did it. He said the stock reply this year has been, "Because I'm that good.
"It's not cockiness, but confidence. This team has enough confidence to win the CIF championship. In our minds, we're No. 1."
He said Esperanza and El Dorado are the teams that Santa Monica may have to beat to get there.
He said he and his players have "tunnel vision" about the June 6 game at Dodger Stadium.
Kurt Schwengel said Frierson is right about that. He said that last year, after getting off to a 1-4 start in the Bay League, the team was "just pushing to make the playoffs."
The Vikings made the playoffs, losing in the second round, 8-4, to Simi Valley, which for much of the year had been ranked No. 1 in the nation. "Going into the seventh inning, we had them, 4-2, but we lost," Kurt said.
"This year we're pushing for June 6 all the way," he said, and Kris added, "Nothing less."