Baserunner coming home
BETTER DAYS Healdsburg senior Wyatt Dugan, a standout on defense, comes home during Rec Park action on April 25 against Sonoma Academy. The Greyhounds won that time, 9-0, but their season ended on May 15 with a loss to St. Mary’s. (Photo by Michael Lucid)

When it came down to the North Coast Division 4 playoff tournament, Healdsburg found itself ranked 9 out of 12 teams. So going the distance to the finals—scheduled to take place this coming weekend—was always a long shot.

Hopes were raised when the Greyhounds beat the favored No. 8 team, St. Joseph Notre Dame, pulling out a 2-1 victory on May 15. The game featured another outstanding pitching performance by Alex Mauro-Manos, the same sophomore who had already defeated North Bay League – Redwood first-place Montgomery not once, but twice.

Mauro-Manos threw an 85-pitch complete game—71 of them strikes, only 14 balls—in an effort coach Mark Domenichelli called “spectacular.” It was his seventh complete game of the season in his 11 starts. His ending ERA was only 1.02, and his win-loss record a strong 7-2.

Despite that, the Greyhounds fell behind 1-0 in the third inning, but managed to score their runs one at a time in the fourth and sixth for the win. They got only five hits, two of them from Hayden Mariani, another sophomore on the roster.

But the 2024 season came to a not-unexpected end three days later when the Greyhounds faced Saint Mary’s, the division’s No. 1 seed, in Albany. Austin Collins, a senior fireballer who started the game, pitched into the fifth inning but couldn’t get out of it without relief help from Henry Smith. Five runners came home, all of them charged to Collins.

Winning pitcher for the Panthers was Aidan Donoviel, who held the Greyhounds to just three hits.

“The team played hard. We just couldn’t mount any offense in the wind,” said Domenichelli, referring to the weather at the Albany school. “We’ll see them again next year.” 

St. Mary’s is a perennial contender in Division 4 tournaments, as are the Greyhounds.

Next year’s Greyhounds will play a different set of opponents in a revised league, one that attempts to match schools of like size against each other more frequently and to reduce extended travel. The composition of those leagues will be finalized soon.

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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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