TOO LATE Healdsburg third baseman John Wallace awaits a throw from second to cut off a St. Vincent runner during the April 2 game at Rec Park. The runner was safe, but barely. (Photo by Michael Lucid)

Part one of the 2024 varsity baseball season is well underway, and so far the Healdsburg Hounds are putting up the wins to stay abreast of the league leaders.

As we go to press, their record is 4-4 in the North Bay Redwood league, 7-9 overall, but they managed to hand league-leading Montgomery their only loss so far, in a 7-0 shutout on the Vikings’ home diamond on April 5. Sophomore Alex Mauro-Manos went the distance for the win, giving up three hits and striking out eight.

HORSE Alex Mauro-Manos, a sophomore, is winning games for the Healdsburg Greyhounds.

Mauro-Manos turned around to toss another shutout four days later, corralling the St. Vincent Mustangs in a 6-0 win at home on April 9. The sophomore’s win-loss record is 4-2 so far this year, and he leads the team with a 0.99 earned run average (ERA).

The win was made possible by a steady stream of runs in one- and two-run innings, on 10 hits overall. Tyler Swanson, Xander Harms and Wyatt Dugan got a pair each, with Dugan producing four RBIs in his four appearances at the plate.

“He’s the horse,” said coach Mark Domenichelli. Of the slight sophomore, he said, “He doesn’t look like much in his uniform, but he gets the job done.”

But Mauro-Manos is not the only ace on the squad. Austin Collins showed he had the right stuff on March 28 with his own shutout, this one a nail-biting contest that was only decided in the bottom of the ninth. Giving up only two hits over the distance, the 6-foot-five-inch-tall senior kept the Piner Prospectors off-balance throughout.

For their own part, the Greyhounds offense could not produce any runs either, loading the bases twice without bringing home a run. But neither starter Anthony Cordoza nor reliever Cesar Gomez allowed any runs, until that fateful bottom of the ninth.

SENIOR STARTER Austin Collins bears down from the mound against Montgomery on April 2. The Vikings beat the Greyhounds, 8-1, but Healdsburg got revenge on April 5 with a 7-0 win

The inning began when Dugan reached on an error by the shortstop. After holding at first on a fly-out to center, Dugan advanced to second on a hard single to left by Xander Harms.

With runners at first and second, Henry Smith popped a grounder to second, but Piner’s Kellan Toolan blew the throw to first. Smith was safe, Harms advanced and Dugan raced home from second for the walk-off win, 1-0.

As we go to press, Healdsburg faces Kelseyville in a Division 4 game at Rec Park. That’s followed by two more non-league division matchups, until the Santa Rosa Panthers come to town on Wednesday, April 24. First pitch is at 6pm, at Rec Park on University and Piper.

“Hopefully we catch fire here,” said Domenichelli, looking forward to the last few weeks of the season and the division playoffs to follow.

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Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


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