Big third inning lifts Crusaders past the Cubs and into NCS championship game

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – St. Bernard’s pitcher Nick Dugan

By Ray Hamill — The Crusaders moved one win closer to their first North Coast Section baseball championship in seven years with a 12-0 win over South Fork in five innings at St. Bernard’s on Saturday.

The No. 1 seeds in the Division-6 bracket will now play in the championship game next weekend against either Credo or Ferndale, who meet in the second semifinal on Saturday night.

The South Fork bats were no match for the St. Bernard’s pitching, with senior aces Nick Dugan and Aidan Dorsch combining for a no-hitter.

But the South Fork pitching gave the higher seeds some problems early in the game, before the SB bats exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the third. 

“First of all, I tip my cap to South Fork. They had a good game plan and they tried to pitch a slower pitcher than we’re used to, and it worked for a couple of innings,” St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin said. “But my kids made the adjustments in the third and I was happy with how the kids made the adjustments.”

Dugan threw 3.1 innings for the win, walking just two and striking out eight, while Dorsch pitched the final 1.2 innings and allowed no walks and struck out two.

“Our pitching has been outstanding all year and it was again today,” Tomlin said.

Offensively, the Crusaders had three home runs, including three-run blasts by Dugan and Cayden Lee.

Lee finished 2-for-2, while Tyler Dimmick was 3-for-3 with a triple and a double, and Jeran Ford added a solo home run.

South Fork pitcher Lucas Genolio

Drew Vizenor also had an impact and was 1-for-2 with two runs scored, while Carl Nunes and Tyson Meyer each also had a hit and Braeden Zimmerman scored two runs.

Sophomore Lucas Genolio pitched well for the Cubs, whose season ends with the loss.

“We knew we were going to have to play perfect baseball to beat an elite team like St. Bernard’s. It didn’t happen,” South Fork head coach Chris Contreras said. “We got no-hit facing the ‘Double Ds,’ but I was proud of some of our boys for making contact against 90 mph.”

With only three seniors set to graduate, the Cubs will return most of their players next season and should benefit from the experience a young team gained this spring.

“Looking forward to the future,” Contreras said. “South Fork baseball might be a team to watch next season.”

The Cubs head coach also expressed his gratitude to the South Fork community.

“I want to say thank you to all my parents and the Southern Humboldt community for supporting our team throughout the season,” he said. “And good luck to St. Bernard’s in the championship game.”

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