Newman's Sweeney doubtful for Friday

Posted by: Press Democrat correspondent Dewey Forget

There have been many inquiries the past couple of days as to the condition of Cardinal Newman baseball player Sean Sweeney. If you were at Monday’s game between Cardinal Newman and Montgomery, you probably saw the horrific collision between Sweeney and Matt Dethlefsen at first base.

I’m happy to report that Sweeney was in the Cardinals’ dugout Wednesday, cheering on his teammates in the Cardinals’ 16-10 romp against Ukiah in the North Bay League tournament.

Concerning Monday’s collision, Sweeney said he lost consciousness when he hit the ground several steps past first base. When he realized what he had happened, he said his back hurt so much, he didn’t even notice his head hurting.

X-rays taken at Memorial Hospital showed a severely strained lower back, but no broken bones. Sweeney is still in some discomfort and will not be available Friday when Newman meets Montgomery for the NBL tournament championship. Sweeney said he hopes to be ready for the North Coast Section playoffs.

The loss of Sweeney is a significant blow to Newman. He is one of their top pitchers and hitters. Cardinal Newman coach T.J. McMahon most likely will have to use a pitcher-by-committee scenario against Montgomery. It is unlikely that Jason Alexander, who went seven innings against Montgomery on Monday, would be available as a starter.

Newman coach T.J. McMahon has a similar dilemma as Vikings’ coach Dean Haskins. Kevin Lavarta, the Vikings’ ace, went the distance on Monday. Haskins said he will not be ready with just three days rest.

But, with all that said, it wouldn’t surprise me to see both Alexander and Lavarta on the mound Friday, even if it’s in limited duty. After all, the winner gets the automatic NCS berth. It’s yet another very important game in the always entertaining Newman-Montgomery rivalry.