The Little 4 favorites opened league play as expected on Saturday, but they left Hoopa with a newfound respect for the Warriors.
The St. Bernard’s boys won 13-0 and 21-1 — both in five innings — to go to 2-0 in league and 5-1 overall, with four pitchers combining to hold the Hoopa bats to just one hit on the day.
Nick Dugan and Brody Tomlin combined for a one-hitter in the opener, while teammate Cayden Lee provided the offensive highlight with a three-run home run.
In game two, Aidan Dorsch and Lee combined on the mound for a no-hitter, as Lee capped a big all-around day with three more hits and three RBIs.
The four SB pitchers didn’t give their defense much to do, with 27 of their 30 outs coming on strikeouts.
Tomlin struck out all six of the batters he faced, while Dugan and Dorsch both had eight Ks and Lee five.
Despite the loss, however, a young Hoopa team and first-year head coach Joe O’Rourke earned the respect of their opponents with their sportsmanship and resilient effort.
In particular, shortstop Darvin Davis IV.
“First of all, I want to give a shoutout to the Hoopa shortstop, Darvin Davis. He made several outstanding plays. He’s a dynamic player,” St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin said. “And I want to give a shoutout to their coach. They played so hard and showed great sportsmanship, and that’s a compliment to what they’re doing out there.”
O’Rourke and his players knew they were going to have their hands full going up against a Crusaders team that harbors state championship ambitions this season, but they didn’t back down from the challenge.
“Going in we put a lot of energy into it and (the players) kept their spirits up,” the Hoopa head coach said. “It was good. They stayed in there and gave it their best, and I can’t ask for more than that.”
Several Hoopa players played well, including sophomore Alan Mace, who had Hoopa’s only hit of the day when he singled against Dugan, one of the top prospects in the nation.
Davis “made some amazing catches,” according to O’Rourke, while Brian Gulley continued to stand out in center field, as did Ihaan Albers behind the plate and Kagan Renteria at first base.
Pitchers Aiden Kimball and Trey Crawford each also played well, with Kimball “showing a lot of promise” for his first time pitching, according to O’Rourke.
Matt Tomlin used the occasion to give all of his players some valuable playing time and felt it was a good day for his squad.
“Everybody was focused and everybody contributed in some way,” the coach said.
Hoopa, which dropped to 0-2 in the Little 4 and 0-5 on the season, will play at Hayfork in a non-league game on Wednesday, while St. Bernard’s will host Arcata on Thursday in a rematch of last weekend’s Crusader Classic championship and a second meeting this season between the two teams considered the top two in the H-DNL.
And it’s a game the Crusaders are looking forward to after losing 11-1 to Arcata last week.
Dugan will get the start for SB, while Arcata ace Vincent Agliolo is expected to start for the Tigers.
“That’ll be a fun one,” Matt Tomlin said.