By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Aiming for the NCAA baseball regional playoffs is a Sonoma State team picked to finish near the top of the California Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Sonoma State was picked to finish fourth by conference coaches, a solid spot that would put the Seawolves back in the CCAA tournament.
One of the nation’s toughest conferences, the CCAA was led in the coaches voting by Chico State, UC San Diego and Cal Poly Pomona.
Expected to return much of the starting lineup from last year’s squad that reached the conference finals, Sonoma State is seasoned for another challenging campaign.
All-West Region selections Jackson Stogner, a junior second baseman from Analy High, and senior designated hitter Devon Zenn, out of Benicia, lead the returners.
Also back are All-CCAA picks Steven Filippi, a senior outfielder from Sonoma Valley High, and senior first baseman Garrett Gooselaw, out of Canyon Lake.
Senior third baseman Jeff Boulware, from Davis, and senior starting pitcher Harmen Sidhu, from Martinez, also return. Leading the Seawolves is head coach John Goelz, who is still recovering from a concussion suffered in a July 31 car accident.
Entering his 28th season at the helm of Sonoma State, Goelz has the sixth-most wins among active NCAA Division II coaches.
Sonoma State has reached the NCAA West Regional Tournament four of the past six seasons.
Included are two trips to the college world series.
Sonoma State opens the 2013 season with a string of home games beginning with San Francisco State visiting Rohnert Park on Feb. 5.