Healdsburg baseball player hits home run
CONTACT Tyler Swanson connects during the April 17 game against Kelseyville, which the Greyhounds won 7-4 to open a 5-game home appearance. (Photo by Michael Lucid)

There’s certainly talent on the Healdsburg varsity baseball team, and hustle and confidence. Though their record this season is a modest 11-11, 4-7 in the North Bay Redwood league, their scorecard is overflowing with big-run victories over like-sized opponents, those in Division 4.

Tyler Swanson’s .383 batting average is a respectable sixth in the league, with Austin Collins not far behind him at .352. Collins’ 15 stolen bases is second in the league. John Wallace’s 17 RBIs ties for first with two others. Hayden Mariani has a 1.000 fielding percentage, having made no errors in 38 putouts, while Wyatt Dugan has a percentage of .968 in 121 putouts.

They’ve also come up with a number of strong pitching efforts this year. Collins, a senior, is making the most of his 6-5 angularity, overpowering batters when he’s in form.

Early season sensation Alex Mauro-Manos holds an enviable .97 ERA, third in the league. The sophomore is much smaller than Collins, but keeps hitters guessing. He’s 5-2 at this point in the year, with the team’s best winning percentage.

Junior Eric Nielson has come in strong in recent performances, pitching six shut-out innings and striking out six against Sonoma Academy on April 25. And sophomore Henry Smith was impressively perfect in his four innings against Swett of Crocket, California.

The crucial factor in their win-loss record is the size of the opponent’s school. If it’s like Healdsburg, a Division 4 school with 420-924 students, the Greyhounds have a winning streak: On April 17 they beat Kelseyville 7-4; on April 18 they licked Lick-Wilmerding; they shut out Swett 9-0 on April 20.

Then they returned to league games and fell to the Division 2 team Santa Rosa twice, 10-3 on April 24 and, a closer one, 9-7 on April 26.

Winning Home Stand

Those Division 4 games in mid-April showed off the best of this year’s Greyhounds. Most of them across a five-game home stand, so the Greyhound student-athletes could show their stuff for friends and family.

On April 17, Healdsburg scored three small-ball runs in their half of the first inning, giving Mauro-Manos the comfort he needed to keep the Kelseyville Tigers in their cage. He pitched through the sixth, then Wyatt Dugan took over for some mound time and gave up a couple of  runs; final score was 7-4.

Against San Francisco’s Lick-Wilmerding, the Greyhounds were overpowering at the plate, scoring 9 runs in the first inning and another 9 in the fourth, making their two one-run innings unnecessary. Tyler Swanson hit two triples and Nova Perrill one, and John Wallace hit three doubles in a rare power-hitting display from Healdsburg.

SENIOR STARTER Joe 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

Meanwhile Austin Collins hurled fire for four innings for the win, whiffing six (and walking a like number) and giving up only a single run. He was relieved by Swanson for a clean inning and by sophomore Henry Smith for two, and the Greyhounds prevailed 20-1.

Two nights later they met Swett, again at home on this recent five-game home stretch. Mauro-Manos was the starting pitcher, but the 9-0 final score wasn’t his shut-out alone. He pitched only two innings and gave up a pair of hits, but was relieved by sophomore Smith for the next four innings. Smith was outstanding, striking out eight and giving up no baserunners.

After the loss to Santa Rosa, the home stand ended with a 9-0 win over Sonoma Academy, on April 25. Eric Nielsen pitched six strong innings, spreading four hits out so no runs scored and striking out 6. Meanwhile the offense scraped together nine hits and easily defeated the Coyotes.

Healdsburg’s record during the recent home stand was 4-1, their only loss coming to Santa Rosa. That proved the rule of losing to larger schools; Division 2 Santa Rosa (with 1,400-1,949 students) prevailed again on April 26 when Healdsburg finally got back on the road and lost to Santa Rosa, 9-7.

Healdsburg’s last two regular season games are both against Piner High, a Division 3 school. But the Prospectors have been on a losing streak recently, and the Greyhounds hope they can take advantage of a dispirited team to end their North Bay Redwood league season closer to the .500 mark.

The game on Wednesday, May 1, in Santa Rosa was underway as we headed to the presses, but it turned out poorly for the Greyhounds: Piner won, 3-0.

The league’s last game is Friday, May 3, in Healdsburg at Rec Park. First pitch is at 7pm.

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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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