Dragons fall to Newman 4-2; SCL preview

Junior Chandler Kelley slides into second base with a successful stolen base in earlier season action. Kelley and the Dragons host Healdsburg tomorrow night at Arnold Field at 7:00 pm.

Despite out-hitting their opponent 10 – 8, the Sonoma Dragons fell 4-2 to the Cardinal Newman in their final pre-season tune-up last week in Santa Rosa. The loss dropped the Dragons to 3-4, while Cardinal Newman improved to 7-3 with both teams embarking on league play this week.

Starting pitcher, junior Michael Hernandez scattered eight hits over six innings, but surrendered only two earned runs as the defense behind him committed three errors.

Junior Jonah Son and senior Kevin Deely each pounded out three hits for the Dragons. Deely’s trio of base knocks raised his pre-season batting average to an outrageous .667 (16-24).
The Dragons got hits from Chris Swanson, Sam Morgan, Sam Keechler and Brennan Cole, but had only one extra-base hit in their 10 (a double by Deely).

After Sonoma tied the score at one in the top of the third inning, Cardinal Newman answered back with a run in the bottom of the frame and scratched across a pair in the bottom of the fifth inning to put the game away.

2011 SCL Preview:

Analy: The Tigers enter SCL pay with a 1-5 record and lost most of their quality pitching of a season ago to graduation. Eli Alcantar, a familiar name to Dragon basketball fans, is a top pitching candidate, but then Tigers have been outscored 45-19 in their first six games and boast a team batting average of just .179. Isaak Olsen has been the lone pre-season star offensively, batting .529 with six RBI. Predicted SCL record 3-9.

Casa Grande: The Gauchos (4-4) possess perhaps the best 1-2 pitching punch in starters Alex Perez and Robbie Rossi. Perez is 2-1 and Rossi has a miniscule 0.84 ERA in the preseason. The Gauchos are working in a new infield, but Rossi stabilizes the group by taking turns playing shortstop when he’s not on the mound. Offensively, Chase Stafford has been a pleasant surprise, picking up seven hits in his first eight at-bats. Predicted SCL record 7-5.

El Molino: Lightly regarded, the Lions could be the surprise team of the SCL in 2011. A 4-3 pre-season mark has seen the Lions yield just 25 runs in seven games. The Lions are led by the 3-0 record of ace pitcher Paris Selzer who has fanned 33 in just 16 innings of work. The Lions lit up the base paths in the preseason, swiping 10 of 11 bases, but the team batting average is just .218. Football quarterback Mike Pierson is adept on the diamond as well, starting at shortstop and batting .316. Predicted SCL record 5-7.

Healdsburg: The Greyhounds have used stellar pitching to compile a 3-2 mark before the onset of SCL play. Geno Dericco is the staff’s top starter and the “Hounds have yielded only 14 runs so far in 2011. Returning starters Joey Miller, Kyle McLachlan and Trevor O’Connor solidify the defense up the middle and also proved the core of the Healdsburg offensive attack. According to coach Mark Domenichelli defense will be the key the Healdsburg’s success. Predicted SCL record 5-7.

Petaluma: Last year’s SCL champ looks to be a front-runner for the title again in 2011. The Trojans return six starters from a team that pounded out wins offensively in 2010 and the team batting average is .321 while posting a 4-2-1 preseason mark. The Trojans have five players hitting .300 or better, led by Stephen McElroy’s .522 and Daniel Comstock’s .417. Both Comstock and McElroy take turns on the mound as well and catcher Spencer Neve is a top defender. Over 20% of the Trojans preseason hits have been for extra bases. Predicted SCL record 8-4.

Windsor: The Jaguars have been an enigma in recent seasons, seemingly possessing more talent than most in the SCL, but unable to put it all together. Keeping with their inconsistent nature, the Jaguars posted a 3-3 preseason record. The team batting average of .279 is bolstered by Harrison Kauth’s .421 and Darrian Roman’s .318 as the duo has combined for 15 of the team’s 48 hits. Kauth and Ryan Shubin are the top pitching prospects for the Jaguars whose lone returning starter is third baseman Justin Landen. Predicted SCL finish 6-6.

Sonoma Valley: The ability to rebound from a two-game losing streak will be critical for the Dragons 2011 SCL success. The one-two pitching combo of returning All-Leaguer Sam Alton and super-soph Brennan Cole will give the Dragons one of the stronger rotations in the SCL. Recent Don Lyons teams have shown that once they get hot, they stay that way for awhile as evidenced by last season’s torrid run through the second half of the SCL slate. Senior Kevin Deely leads off, and his 16 hits leads the Redwood Empire. Cole and fellow sophomore Jonah Son follow Deely offensively, hitting .500 and .391, respectively. Predicted SCL record 8-4.

Next week: SCL softball update and preview.

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