Young Crusaders prepare for league opening doubleheader

Ray Hamill/ – The experienced Tyler Dimmick returns from last year’s NorCal state championship team.

By Ray Hamill — A very young St. Bernard’s baseball team will begin the season with a Little 4 doubleheader at home to Hoopa on Friday afternoon.

Oner year after winning a NorCal state title with a senior-heavy team, the Crusaders will start the 2023 campaign with four starting freshmen and a starting sophomore.

“We’re very young and we’ve got a long ways to go, but I love the effort and how hard they’re working every day,” head coach Matt Tomlin said. “I expect growing pains, but they’re also a very talented group.”

The Crusaders, however, are not without some experience and two seniors will start on the mound against the Warriors, with game one set for 1:30 p.m. at Crusaders Field.

The talented Tyler Dimmick is back from the state championship team and will start in game two, with Jason Meyer set to take the mound for the opener.

Dimmick, who Tomlin described as “the best player on our team,” is expected to be the staff ace this spring after showing plenty of promise in 2022.

After the two seniors, however, the next three pitchers Tomlin will rely on are all freshmen.

“It’s a good group of kids, and I have a lot of fun coaching them,” the head coach said.

The starting freshmen include outfielder Isaiah Wolfe, who made some noise on the Crusaders varsity football team in the fall, as well as shortstop Michael Manzi, catcher Tyler Hinrichs and outfielder Luke Brunton.

Sophomore Tyler Maples will also start at first base and will be expected to make some noise at the plate.

“We think that he can bring some pop to the lineup,” Tomlin said of Maples.

Luke Brunton’s older brother Seth will start at third, while fellow senior Tyson Meyer will provide some experience behind the plate when he returns from an injury suffered on the wrestling mats this winter.

One other player who is expected to provide some power at the plate is Eureka transfer Mateo Gutierrez, although he won’t be available for a few weeks due to transfer protocols.

The junior will play some third base and pitch, as well as hitting in the middle of the order.

Friday’s games were moved up from later on the season because the Crusaders will be traveling to Arizona for a tournament in late March.

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