Prep Baseball Report

Season Preview: Cardinal Newman

Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

With the 2019 high school baseball season underway in a couple of sections and just around the corner in others such as SJS/CCS/NCS, we continue to roll out team previews. We are just about finished with the previews and want to send big thanks to all the coaches who took the time to send in the questionnaires, which definitely helps your players. I am sure those kids appreciate your efforts.

In this edition we take a look at the Cardinal Newman Cardinals. 2018 was a season that followed the tragic and historically destructive Sonoma County fires in October of 2017. Cardinal Newman HS was severely damaged in the fires and many of the player's families and friends were directly affected. The team moved forward under the leadership of first year head coach Derek DeBenedetti, a Newman grad himself. Now the 2019 season is near and there has been some time for healing, growth, and recovery. It's going to be interesting to see this team and how far they've come.

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Team: Cardinal Newman

Nickname: Cardinals

Section: CIF-North Coast Section, D3

League: North Bay League - Oak Division

Head Coach/Years at school: Derek DeBenedetti (2)

School Twitter Handle@CNHighSchool

2018 Overall Record: 13-13

2018 Postseason Finish: Lost 1st round NCS-D3 playoffs

Number of Returning Starters: 4

Number of Returning Pitchers: 5

Top Returning Players:

'19 RHP Sean Flowers (Nevada); '19 3B/INF Jordan Herrfeldt; '21 SS/P Carson Crawford (Cal); '21 OF/C Shane Moran

Other Players To Watch:

'19 MIF Will Larson; '19 RHP/OF Nick George; '20 RHP Gianni Cavallo; '20 OF Sean Latham; '20 OF/IF/P Drew Lombardi; '20 RHP Matthew McMahon; '21 INF/P Aidan Lombardi

2019 Outlook:

Keeping this outlook strictly to baseball, which is what we are here to do, the 2019 Cardinals look poised to contend not just for a conference championship and a deep run into the NCS playoffs. The roster has some D1 commits at important positions and other players who will be D1 players in the future, which is to say there is talent on this team. With talent comes expectations.

Though the 2018 season ended with a .500 record, there were bright spots, namely the strong showing in the Boras Classic North, which saw Newman defeat a talented Oak Ridge team in the first game, behind some strong pitching of RHP Sean Flowers (6-1, 170). The strengths of the 2019 team, if successful, will be the pitching staff, the depth of the line-up, athleticism, and team chemistry. The challenges will be playing consistently good defense and functionality of executing the small ball game.

One reason defense will be a question mark is because Newman has a lot of versatile players who have played multiple positions thus far in their high school careers. Now, athleticism and versatility is a good thing, but it also tends to stunt development of mastering the nuances of one position. For instance, sophomore Shane Moran (L/R, 5-10, 185) a talented athlete (football standout) manned the catcher position all season as a freshman. This year he will spend time in the outfield. It takes time to make a transition like that. If there is an athlete on this team who can handle that, it's Moran (L/R), a star running back this past season.

The pitching staff will be led by Nevada commit Sean Flowers, who possesses a good three-pitch mix and has lots of varsity experience to draw upon. Also heavily in the mix will be sophomore RHP/SS Carson Crawford (R/R, 6-1, 170, Cal commit). When not on the mound he will be at shortstop and relied upon to play a key roll each and every game. We recently saw both Moran and Crawford at the preseason All-State event and both looked great, ready to have big seasons. Beyond Flowers and Crawford, junior RHPs Gianni Cavallo and Matthew McMahon (L/R, 6-1, 160, also in mix at 1B) will get big innings. Cavallo is a touch feel guy with a bulldog approach, while McMahon is a projectable pitchers who's stuff just keeps ticking up ever so slightly, but steadily. McMahon was also at the preseason All-State event.

The line-up will be anchored by the left-hand hitting Moran, and there also will be some power presence provided by senior corner infielder Jordan Herrfeldt (R/R, 6-2, 200). The power production likely will be provided by those two, and if it all works out the way Coach DeBenedetti envisions, the athleticism and speed of senior outfielder Nick George (R/R, 6-3, 175, will also pitch), senior MIF Will Larson (R/R, 6-0, 180), Crawford, and junior utility-man Drew Lombardi (R/R, 6-0, 170) has a chance to make the line-up dynamic. Each of those players can run, each has extra base/gap pop and each can put pressure on the defense with speed. 

Junior outfielder Sean Latham (L/L, 5-8, 155) has flashed some offensive tools that if they blossom, will lengthen the line-up even more. He's got good speed and at his best sprays the ball around while having some small game skills. Also in that mix as an important complementary offensive player is sophomore INF Aidan Lombardi (R/R, 5-11, 155) whose glove skills will be needed, as will his ability to make consistent line drive contact and do the small things to set up other teammates.

A talented team needs to be tested in order to reach full potential and the schedule has some non-conference opponents that will provide those tests, namely a recent scrimmage vs preseason PBR Power 25 #5 De La Salle, an upcoming scrimmage vs #19 Marin Catholic, a road game vs College Park, Monte Vista (certainly will be in mix for Power 25), and a road game vs San Ramon Valley, another team that will be in the mix for Power 25. Newman will also once again compete in the Boras Classic North, which will feature four stiff tests. The NBL-Oak will be a year long battle with local rival Maria Carrillo, where Coach DeBenedetti was varsity coach for a long time.

When the February rains stop in the North Bay, we will get to find out just how far Cardinal Newman has come.


Solano-Sac Junior Future Games Trials CA 02/24 Vacaville Christian HS
SoCal Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/09 O'Malley Field - Harvard Westlake
East Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/24 Athenian School - Danville
South Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/14 Archbishop Mitty HS - San Jose
North Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/28 Clyde P. Smith Field - Cardinal Newman HS
Northern California Future Games Trials CA 05/26 Islanders Field - Lathrop
SoCal ProCase CA 06/08 Hart Park