By Ray Hamill — There’s a reason the St. Bernard’s Crusaders consistently produce some of the best pitchers in the H-DNL.
Recent standouts like Caleb Ruiz and Garrison Finck, who will both play for the Humboldt Crabs this summer, have been followed this season by a pair of aces, Nick Dugan and Aidan Dorsch, who led the team to a record 14th North Coast Section baseball championship on Friday night.
“Nick Dugan and Aidan Dorsch are two high school pitchers as good as any I’ve seen in 20 years, and they showed it tonight,” head coach Matt Tomlin said after a 7-0 win over Credo in the championship game.
Dugan and Dorsch combined for a no-hitter in the win and struck out 16 batters between them.
But they weren’t the only ones Tomlin praised after the historic victory, which completed a remarkable triple crown of NCS championships for the legendary head coach after previously winning two NCS titles in football and three in girls basketball.
According to Tomlin, he could not have done it without the help of several dedicated assistant coaches over the years, and one in particular.
“I have an amazing coaching staff,” he said. “And I really want to point out how good my pitching coach Greg Shanahan is.
“We haven’t given up a run in the playoffs and I’ve got to give Greg all the credit in the world for that.”
Shanahan, a St. Bernard’s graduate who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has been a consistent presence for the Crusaders for over 30 years, on a team that has produced multiple standouts on the mound.
And he’s a popular figure among the players.
“He’s just done it with so many kids,” Tomlin said. “He’s just got a calm approach with the kids, and they respond to that.”
Tomlin, Shanahan and the Crusaders will now turn their attention to the CIF NorCal Regional tournament, which opens on Tuesday.
The St. Bernard’s boys are seeded No. 4 in the Division-III bracket and will open at home against No. 5 Foothill at 4 p.m.