2018 Season Preview: Cardinal Newman Cardinals


Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

As the start of the 2018 high school baseball season in California draws closer, we’ve begun rolling out team previews from around the state.

In this edition we take a closer look at the Cardinal Newman Cardinals (Santa Rosa, Ca.).  CNHS has numerous uncommitted seniors who are both experienced and talented.  With the motivation of overcoming the Sonoma County fires, they look to get back on the field and compete for a conference title and CIF-North Coast Section Division III playoff berth. 

Team: Cardinal Newman HS

Nickname: Cardinals

Section: North Coast Section, Division III

League: North Bay

Head Coach: Derek DeBenedetti

Years as Head Coach: 1st

2017 Overall Record: 13-12

2017 League Record: 7-7

2017 Postseason Finish: Lost 1st round NCS

Team Website: Cardinal Newman Cardinals

Number of Returning Starters: 4

Number of Returning Pitchers: 4

Top Returning Players:

Jason Moran: SR/C - 3-year varsity player, 2017: .422, 17 extra base hits, 24 RBI; Uncommitted

Beau Barrington: SR/INF - 3-year starter, 2017: .308, 7 SB, 19 RBI, starting varsity QB; Uncommitted

Dylan Tarnutzer: SR/3B-1B-RHP - 2017: .319, 20 RBI, 2.15 ERA; Uncommitted

Ryan Miller: SR/OF-2B-P - Utility player with strong baseball IQ; Uncommitted

Sean Flowers: JR/RHP - Varsity starting pitcher in 2017, mid-80s, two quality secondary pitches

Other Players To Watch:

Caleb Vice: SR/1B-3B-OF - L/R with high ceiling potential with the bat

Nick George: JR/RHP - Tall and athletic, top JV pitcher in 2017

Carson Crawford: FR/SS-P - Back-up SS, good athlete, potential to be in top four pitchers

Season Outlook:

Cardinal Newman enters the 2018 season on the heels of one of the most terrible catastrophes in California history, the Sonoma County fires last October.  A handful of baseball players’ families lost their homes, including Beau Barrington, Dylan Tarnutzer, and one of their key seniors, Vinny Tosti, which led to his transfer to Mater Dei.  On January 22, students returned to class on the campus for the first time since the fires. 

Now the CNHS team is looking forward to simply getting back on the field and playing ball.  They won’t be able to play home games until late February/early March, but they will get back to their home field at some point.  They did lose a talented player in Tosti, but the cupboard is not bare. One of those players, catcher Jason Moran, is one of the top uncommitted seniors in the state. Moran has all the tools (as well as high level performance on the field) to be a D1 catcher.  It's surprising that he's uncommitted at this point.

First year head coach Derek DeBenedetti (CNHS class of 1994) is bullish on his team’s chances this season. He is well aware of his new team, as he was head coach at rival Maria Carrillo (Santa Rosa) for seven years. His projection of the Cardinals’ finish in the conference; will contend for the conference.  Newman will be challenged by traditional power Casa Grande (Petaluma), and his former program Maria Carrillo. 

In speaking with DeBenedetti, he said, “I knew the returning players could hit and play defense.  In fact, Moran was one of the players we didn’t want to face last year, along with a couple of players at Casa.  But to be successful this year, I knew the pitching had to improve.” 

There is every reason to believe the pitching will indeed improve.  Junior RHP Sean Flowers will be expected to lead the staff, followed by senior RHP/1B Dante Cavallo.  After that, DeBenedetti has high hopes for a few other young pitchers; junior RHP Nick George, sophomore RHP Gianni Cavallo, and freshman RHP/SS Carson Crawford.  Senior RHP Dylan Tarnutzer will likely be counted on as the closer.

Offensively, the Cardinals are experienced and talented.  In adition to line-up anchor Moran, Barrington is a 3-year starter and will man 2nd base.  As the starting quarterback, he brings a football mentality and confidence to the dugout, along with extra base power and base stealing ability.  Tarnutzer is a middle of the order presence expected to drive in runs and there is hope of a strong season from senior 1B/3B Caleb Vice.  Mix in a couple of junior outfielders with some bat talent and the line-up looks deep.

After the devastating fires that burned much of their campus to the ground, simply getting back to campus and playing ball would be a great story to follow.  However, the story is made more fun to follow because this team has a chance to have a special season.

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California high school coaches can request a 2019 preseason questionnaire from Northern California Director of Scouting Blaine Clemmens at [email protected] or California State Director of Scouting Les Lukach at [email protected] 

Note: The completion of a questionnaire does not guarantee we will be able to get it posted before the start of the season.