LITTLE 4 BOYS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR — Dugan’s performances were the stuff of legend

Photos by Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — Nick Dugan’s final game in a St. Bernard’s uniform will go down as one of the most memorable individual performances in Crusaders and H-DNL baseball history.

The outgoing senior capped a remarkable season for both him and his team in a 7-6 win over Alpha Charter earlier this month, as the Crusaders claimed a first-ever North Coast Section and NorCal championship double.

And that’s just one of the reasons Dugan has been named this year’s Humboldt Sports Little 4 Boys Athlete of the Year.

Dugan is a special talent and he lived up to that billing this year.

The Stanford-bound ace, who throws in the low 90s, dominated at a level we rarely see in local high school sports, and that’s precisely why he beat out a worthy group of finalists for the honor.

For the season, he was 12-0 with an ERA of 0.82 and struck out 137 batters in 60 innings, while giving up just 18 hits.

His NorCal championship performance was exceptional, and the SB standout capped a big week that day with his third tournament victory in a week, taking over on the mound in the third inning and striking out all 13 batters he faced.

It’s one thing to do something like that in a regular season game, it’s something else to do it in a NorCal championship game against a red-hot lineup with future Division-I talent.

“The legend of Nick Dugan continues to grow,” head coach Matt Tomlin said in the wake of the remarkable performance. “That was really special.”

Nick Dugan and his teammates and friends at his letter signing ceremony last November.

Dugan says he choose Stanford for the combination of academics and baseball.

After signing his letter of commitment last November, the senior standout spoke to a packed school auditorium full of friends, family, teammates, coaches and fellow students, and thanked the people who have helped him along the way.

“I didn’t get here by myself,” he said. “I’ve had great coaches and teammates all throughout the years.”

Tomlin has often talked about Dugan’s incredible talent, but also has stressed that’s not the only thing that makes him special.

“The No. 1 thing is that he’s a great teammate,” the coach said. “That’s the most important thing you can be on any team you play.

“He’s a great young man. He’s a student athlete. He’s not just a baseball player. He comes here and gets it done in the classroom, and that’s how he’s able to go to Stanford.

“It’s been an honor and a great pleasure to be his coach. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Dugan, who was also named CalHiSports Small Schools State Player of the Year, was also a very good basketball player for the Crusaders before committing full-time to baseball.

A big shoutout to our awards sponsors, Mendes Supply Company, Six Rivers Property Management and The Stove Doctors, for their support, as well as to Sports World in Eureka for helping with the plaques.

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