Dugan, Crusaders out to contain the red-hot Tigers bats

Ray Hamill/ – Nick Dugan

By Ray Hamill — Let’s hope this one is a little more competitive. I have a feeling it will be.

On Thursday afternoon, in the most anticipated game of the season so far, St. Bernard’s will host Arcata in a non-league baseball showdown between the top two teams in the H-DNL and two of the top teams in the entire North Coast Section.

The Arcata boys are 6-0 and have been playing outstanding so far, including an 11-1 win over St. Bernard’s two weeks ago in the Crusader Classic championship game.

Thursday’s game, however, should be a more competitive matchup, with St. Bernard’s ace Nick Dugan set to take the mound.

And if there’s any pitcher in the area who can potentially contain the red-hot Tigers — who hit six home runs in a doubleheader at Kelseyville on Saturday — it’s surely Dugan.

Conversely, if there’s one lineup in the H-DNL that can challenge Dugan better than anyone else, it’s surely the Tigers, who have outscored their opponents 73-4 in their six games so far, including three shutouts.

Both teams are also highly ranked within their divisions in the NCS.

The Tigers are No. 1 in Division IV, according to Max Preps, and also the No. 5 ranked team in the entire section overall, behind only De La Salle, Cardinal Newman, Clayton Valley and Foothill.

Submitted photo – Vincent Agliolo

The Crusaders, whose only loss in six games this season was against the Tigers, are No. 1 in Division VI and currently No. 25 overall in the section.

Both teams are similarly stacked, with experienced senior-heavy rosters and two of the best head coaches in the area, and both are sizable favorites to win their respective leagues.

All of which makes for a fascinating matchup on Thursday.

Arcata’s Vincent Agliolo, Finn McRae and Nick Parker are all expected to see time on the mound.

Game time is set for 4 p.m.

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