By Ray Hamill — Less than 24 hours after the school clinched a NorCal state title in boys basketball, the St. Bernard’s Crusaders will begin the new baseball season with similar goals, when they play at Middletown on Friday afternoon.
“That’s absolutely 100 percent our goal, to win the state championship,” head coach Matt Tomlin said. “We have the talent, we go five deep with our pitching staff, and we have so many seniors. Everything is lined up.”
The Crusaders certainly have a deep and talented roster and appear to be the team to beat in the H-DNL this spring, even better than Big 5 favorite Arcata.
They have plenty of talent throughout the lineup and few if any notable concerns, but it all begins with the pitching staff and in particular senior Nick Dugan.
Dugan is one of the hottest prospects in the nation right now and has committed to play at Stanford after graduation.
He is also expected to be drafted very high this summer, but that’s only part of his appeal.
“He’s outstanding,” Tomlin said. “He’s projected to go in the first round of the (MLB) draft and it’s fun to coach a kid like that.
“He’s so talented, but he’s just a good kid too. He’s a great teammate.”
Dugan, who is expected to throw 94 or 95 MPH this spring, looked every bit the part in a scrimmage with Arcata earlier this week, when he struck out all the three batters he faced.
The SB staff also includes senior Aidan Dorsch, another dominating pitcher who also throws 90-plus MPH; as well as talented lefty Brody Tomlin; Cayden Lee, who has a good mix of pitches; and Tyler Dimmick, a junior who has a good fastball and is considered the future ace of the staff.
Several other players are all also expected to play a big role this spring, including centerfielder and lead-off hitter Braeden Zimmerman and transfer students Jeran Ford and Carl Nunes, each of whom will be eligible to play later in the month.
Ford, a former Eureka Logger, will start behind the plate and is “taking on a good leadership role,” according to the head coach.
Lee will provide some power at the plate when he’s not playing third base or pitching, while Drew Vizenor will make the switch from point guard to shortstop and will bat second in the order.
“Drew is another guy we have high hopes for,” Matt Tomlin said. “He’s another great senior leader.”
This year’s roster features 11 seniors in total, eight of whom are expected to start.
And they’re not backing down from the expectations.
“This is the best high school team I’ve ever coached,” Matt Tomlin said. “We’ve got talent all over the lineup.”