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Season Preview: Vacaville Bulldogs


Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

With the 2019 high school baseball season just around the corner in California we begin rolling out team previews from around the state.

In this edition we will take a closer look at the Vacaville Bulldogs, the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 champs. They have the talent to have a legitimate shot to defend that title.

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Team: Vacaville

Nickname: Bulldogs

Section: CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1

League: Monticello Empire

Head Coach/Years at school: Stu Clary (10th year)

Team Twitter Handle@VacaHiBaseball

2018 Overall Record: 26-8 (13-2 conference)

2018 Postseason Finish: SJS D1 Champions

Number of Returning Starters: 6

Number of Returning Pitchers: 5

Top Returning Players:

'19 OF/RHP Devereaux Harrison; '19 SS Hunter Dorraugh; '19 RHP Brandon Chalk; '19 OF George Christison; '19 C Adam Chadwick; '19 LHP Diego Maldonado; '20 1B Michael Brown; '20 OF Jared Breedwell; '20 C Nick Strong

College Commits:

'19 OF/RHP Devereaux Harrison - Long Beach State; '19 SS Hunter Dorraugh - Sacramento State; '19 OF George Christison - Azusa Pacific; '19 OF/1B Jacob Schmutzler - CSU East Bay; '20 OF Jared Breedwell - Oregon State; '20 OF Kenny DeCelle - Santa Clara; '20 MIF Brian McClellin - Cal

Other Players To Watch:

'19 RHP Carson Hawkins; '19 RHP Anthony Callan; '20 3B/P David Rodriguez; '20 MIF Bradley Taylor

2019 Outlook:

Playing in one of California's toughest sections, the 2018 Bulldogs were expected to be good, given the presence of a handful of D1 signees and a strong, yet untested undergrad class. They entered the playoffs as the 7th seed and along the way they knocked off FIVE teams from the Delta League, one of the strongest conferences in the state, including having to defeat Davis HS twice in the final after Davis initially sent them to the loser's bracket.

Three graduated Bulldogs are now playing for NCAA D1 programs, including a top pitcher/hitter, starting shortstop, and starting catcher. They also lose their most effective pitcher from 2018 That is a lot of talent to lose, especially talent at key positions on the field. However, they bring back a lot of production, including power, experienced pitching, two catchers who look to fill the role of their departed starter, and a lot of speed on the bases. The cupboard is certainly NOT bare, not even close.

However, being the defending conference and section champs, they will not sneak up on anyone. True, the 2018 Bulldogs could have been seeded higher than #7 last year, but as is generally the case, the seeding committee gave a lot of credibility to multiple teams from the Delta League. Regardless, the 2019 Bulldogs are going to be hunted.

Coach Clary feels very strongly about his team for the coming season and he should feel that way. He quotes feels strongly about their playoff experience, up the middle defense, power, speed, deep pitching staff/bench as reasons for optimism. Another factor he is excited about is the competition for playing time, which is a GREAT motivator for a team coming off a title.

The schedule is once again strong, with notable non-conference games vs Franklin, Davis, Oak Ridge, Acalanes, Woodcreek (at Raley Field), Elk Grove (at Sac City College). Their conference opponents have talent as well, but the Bulldogs should have the pitching depth and overall talent/athleticism to come through the conference in good shape.

Devereaux Harrison returns after filling an important two-way role last season. He provides strong outfield defense, speed on the bases and extra base hit power (15 EBH in 2018). On the mound he found a new level last summer and started getting into the low-90s at times, to go along with a good slider. How he's utilized, whether that is as a starting pitcher or reliever/closer (35.1 IP last season), remains to be seen. Shortstop Hunter Dorraugh will move into that position to replace a senior who is now at U of Arizona, so big shoes to fill. However, Dorraugh will be up for the challenge, as he went 18/19 on the bases last season while hitting .368 with 6 2B, 3 3B, and 3 HR.

In the middle of the line-up will be big Michael Brown, a junior left-hand hitting 1st baseman who not only can slug, but he can hit and his on-base skills are also impressive. Brown hit 6 home runs as a sophomore, with a .545 OB% (26 BB, 18 K, 5 HBP). He also hit .387 and has a chance to establish himself as one of the top hitters in the state, in any class. Senior outfielder George Christison is another talented left-handed hitter who will lengthen the line-up. He his .338 last season after missing the 2017 season due to injury. OF/1B Jacob Schmutzler is another potential thumper in the line-up.

Senior right-handed pitchers Brandon Chalk and Carson Hawkins, along with senior left-hander Diego Maldonado will be looked to for a bulk of the innings. In fact, the Bulldogs bring back 125+ IP from their championship squad. They will be throwing to two talented catchers in senior Adam Chadwick and junior Nick Strong. Both got good time last season and both hit over .300, with Strong showing some extra base pop.

A group of talented underclassmen will be on display as well. They have two fliers in the outfield in juniors Jared Breedwell and Kenny DeCelle. David Rodriguez is a left-hand hitting corner infielder and right-handed pitcher, with extra base power and a mid-80s arm. Slick fielding junior middle infielder Brian McClellin will likely man 2nd base, as Dorraugh did last year, because of the presence of a talented senor shortstop. Indeed this team is talented, deep and they bring back battle tested experience as well.

Baseball in Vacaville is alive and well and the Bulldogs now have a big target on their backs.

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