Senior pitchers set the tone as Crusaders end Eureka’s nine-game winning streak

Photos by Ray Hamill./ – St. Bernard’s pitcher Nick Dugan gets a high five as he heads back to the dugout during Thursday night’s game.

By Ray Hamill — The St. Bernard’s senior pitching continued to set the tone on Thursday night, as the Crusaders did what no other team in the H-DNL has managed this year.

Nick Dugan and Aidan Dorsch both dominated on the mound, containing a dangerous Eureka High lineup in a 7-2 win in an all-Eureka matchup at Bomber Field.

The loss was the first against an H-DNL team this season for the Loggers, who were shorthanded, and it ended a nine-game winning streak.

“Nick Dugan and Aidan Dorsch have been outstanding this year,” St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin said of the two senior aces, adding that “They’re just special and really, really talented kids with a bright future ahead of them.”

Dugan got the start and pitched six innings for the win, frustrating a potent Eureka lineup that had averaged 11.7 runs a game during the winning streak and had scored at least eight runs in every game since mid March.

The Stanford-bound senior, who is one of the top prospects in the state, pitched a no-hitter through the opening five innings and allowed just three hits all night, while striking out 14.

Dorsch threw one hitless inning in relief, walking one and striking out two.

With the win, Dugan is now 6-0 on the season with an ERA of 1.38, and he has 68 strikeouts in 30.1 innings.

Dorsch, who is 4-0 with a save, has been equally effective with an ERA of 0.61 and 52 strikeouts in 23 innings.

On Thursday, they got more than enough offensive support, as the Crusaders scored runs in four different innings and out-hit the home team 11-3.

The speedy Carl Nunes had a big night at the plate and finished 3-for-4 with a stolen base, while the big bat of Cayden Lee hit a monster RBI double to center field in the top of the third inning, which was his team-leading 13th double of the year.

Braeden Zimmerman got the scoring started in the first inning, reaching base on a bunt single and scoring a few minutes later on a Dugan base hit.

After Lee’s double made it 2-0, a Dorsch sac fly drove in Zimmerman for his second run of the night to make it 3-0 in the top of the third.

Zimmerman would add a two-RBI double later in the game, while also making the defensive play of the night with a spectacular running catch in center field.

Cayden Lee reacts after his RBI double.

“That was just an outstanding play by Braeden Zimmerman,” Tomlin said.

Lee finished with two hits, while Drew Vizenor, Peyton Smith and Tyler Dimmick each added one.

Jeran Ford also drove in a run on a deep fly ball to make it 7-2 in the top of the seventh.

The Loggers broke through offensively in the bottom of the sixth, scoring both of their runs on a Caden Vance single after Jackson Giacone had doubled and Rogan Bode singled to reach base.

Giacone, who will play at Cal State Fullerton next season, also made some outstanding plays at shortstop.

Check out Cayden Lee’s RBI double below …

“Those three guys are all talented players,” Tomlin said of Giacone, Bode and Vance. “And it was really fun to play against them tonight.”

Vance got the start on the mound and threw four solid innings despite the loss, with Mateo Guitierrez, Sebastian Standish and Miles Sorenson all pitching in relief.

With more important games in league play this week — including a no-hitter thrown by ace Myles Standish at Fortuna on Wednesday — the Loggers didn’t have the same pitching options available to them that the Crusaders had for this non-league rivalry game.

Some of the Eureka players who started the season as JVs also were unable to play because of the 24-game rule for young players.

“We are a young team and we had guys start out with the JV program and develop into varsity starters,” Eureka head coach Jeff Giacomini said. “With the Big 5 championship in our sights I had to holster a few guys from today’s game.”

The Loggers played without their starting catcher, shortstop and right fielder.

“Not to take anything away from the performance by Dugan, but I think things would have gone differently if we had our ace on the mound and we were at full strength,” the Eureka coach added.

Giacomini, however, had plenty of praise for Dugan.

“Great outing today by Dugan,” he said. “That kid is the real deal. It was awesome to see that kind of local talent displayed right here in Humboldt.

“We need more kids like that to bring the MLB scouts behind the Redwood Curtain.”

The Loggers, who dropped to 11-7, will play two Big 5 home games against Fortuna on Friday, while the Crusaders, who improved to 16-3, will look to clinch the Little 4 championship in a doubleheader at Ferndale on Saturday.

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