Due to Sonoma State’s unexpected flameout, I’m marooned in St. Louis
until Sunday afternoon. With no game to cover, I figured it was never
too soon to look ahead to next year.

SSU will miss Matt Means, Konrad Thieme, Nick Nosti, David Adler …. but they could be pretty good. Here’s a look at some of the players likely to be back:

Travis Babin, P/3B, Jr. (.329, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 4-0, 4.25 ERA): Babin was brilliant in the postseason – hitting six homers
in 11 games after assuming the starting role. His 90-mile-per-hour fastball and
wicked slider could make him a draft selection. Babin has said he might leave
school if picked early enough in the draft.

Ian Bridges, 1B, Jr. (.394, 8 HR, 56 RBI): Bridges was named the West Region Player of the Year and a
third-team All-American. A 6-foot-4, 225-pounder, he will look to boost his
power numbers next year.

Kris Haycock, SS, Jr. (.320, 6 HR, 44 RBI, 22 SB): Haycock, a transfer from Fresno CC, was named the CCAA
Newcomer of the Year. But his brilliant season left room for improvement – he
led the team in strikeouts (54) and errors (27). Haycock is another draft
prospect.

Kyle Jones, LF, Fr. (.310, 5 HR, 33 RBI): Jones was the only freshman, and one of just three
underclassmen, on SSU’s 26-man CWS roster. Given his debut, he’ll likely be a
fixture in the lineup.

Gary Moran, P, Jr. (8-3, 3.06 ERA): Moran, who had surgery for a torn labrum when he was at
Fresno CC, was fully healthy and it showed. In two starts in the NCAA
Tournament, he allowed one earned run in 14 innings and struck out 16.

Mark Pestorich, RF, Jr. (.343, 5 HR, 40 RBI): Pestorich is adept at spraying the ball to all fields. His
walk-off grand slam against Dominguez Hills in the final weekend of the regular
season clinched the CCAA title.

By the way, top-ranked Mount Olive scored five first-inning runs and beat Ouachita Baptist 6-2 today to win the national championship.