Healdsburg High School’s spring sports programs are almost complete, with a few exceptions. Two track runners are looking forward to racing in the regional Meet of Champions this weekend, and the baseball Hounds hope they can pull off an upset in the NCS tournament.
Several of the programs have young rosters, with sophomores and even freshmen in starting positions, so the coaches uniformly promise better days lie ahead.
Just when the Healdsburg Hounds were back to strength varsity baseball, their 2023 season came to an end with a loss by the narrowest of scores to the Montgomery Vikings, 1-0.
It was the deciding game for the North Bay–Redwood League title, and put the two teams together for the fourth time this year. Healdsburg won the first one, on April 1. But from that point on, Santa Rosa High School has prevailed in close games.
The May 12 game was the first of a NBL double-header, so it started at 3:30pm instead of the usual 7pm. Oddly, Montgomery was the “home” team batting second, and the two played for a scoreless tie through 4 ½ innings.
Then Asher Blain, the Vikings’ starting pitcher, got on base with a walk, advanced to second and came home on a double into left center from Keegan Peterson.
Montgomery threatened in the fifth inning too. Then Sam Vanden Heuvel came in from short to relieve starter Jack Domenichelli to staunch the rally. But the Hounds couldn’t get anything going in their last time at bat, and the league title went to Montgomery.
The Friday, May 12 Redwood League game at Rec Park was followed by the Oak League championship, where a late-inning comeback attempt by Windsor fell short, and Cardinal Newman won, 4-3.
The season isn’t quite over for the Hounds, though. Starting Wednesday, May 17, the North Coast Section Division 4 championship tournament gets underway. Healdsburg is seeded 11, and meets the sixth-seeded McKinleyville High in Humboldt County. (Results too late for press time.)
The tournament continues with quarterfinals on May 20, the semis on May 24 and the finals match, to be played either May 26 or 27.
A long season for the Healdsburg softball team ended on an up note as they defeated St. Vincent de Paul in the second game of a double-header on May 11. That gave the girls an 8-14 record overall, 6-9 in the league.
The Pumas had been a particularly difficult opponent for the Greyhounds, having won their two previous meetings, 18-0 (on May 10) and 12-1 in the first game of the double-header. But with the end of the season as near as the setting sun, the young HHS softball team rallied for four runs in the second and five in the third, going on to win 11-9.
Highlights of the game included two hits each by Abby Highfield, Mia Falberg, Izzy Osborn and Hannah Sellards, with Sellards getting four RBIs. Highfield was the winning pitcher in the five-inning game.
“Each and every player improved throughout the season, and we have established a great base to build off of for next season,” said coach Brian Osborn.
Track and Field
The Healdsburg High track team had an enjoyable series of meets throughout the spring, culminating in the May 13 Redwood Empire NCS Championship meet in San Rafael, according to coach Kate Guthrie.
Out of that meet, two runners advanced to the Meet of Champions (MOC), to be held this coming weekend (May 20) in Dublin.
Sophomore Kaeden Anderson, who led the Cross Country team this past fall, proved a player in the 3200 meter competition by coming in third in the North Bay League (NBL) championship with a time of 9:56.74 on May 4.
That time was identical to his third-place showing in the Viking Classic on April 22. But he beat it by over 13 seconds at the NCS Championship with a personal record 9:43.0 finish for fifth in the wide regional field, good enough to win an invitation to the prestigious MOC.
The other Greyhound who will compete in the Meet of Champions will be senior Erik Gutierrez, qualifying in the 110 meter hurdles. He finished sixth with a 16.44.0 time, a personal record for him as well.
The Healdsburg badminton teams put in a strong season under coach Stan Bischof, finishing second to undefeated Analy in the NCS Redwood league with a 9-3 record.
Named to the NBL All-League team were Diego Rodriguez in men’s singles, Citlaly Rosillo in women’s singles, Andy Duran/David Negrete in men’s doubles, and two out of the three mixed doubles teams, with Edsel Valdez/Citlaly Rosillo and Diego Rodriguez/Kathleen Casero.
Rodriguez, a sophomore, was picked as the league men’s MVP.
The Healdsburg tennis teams had a mixed season, compiling an overall record of 3-7, and 3-5 in league play.
“We are a young team, all freshmen and sophomores,” said coach Joshua Cavanaugh. “So we have a lot to look forward to.”
He pointed out that they won their final league match on April 27 by downing St. Vincent 4-3. “Overall it was a great way to end the season,” said Cavanagh, who doubles as athletic director at Healdsburg High.
Healdsburg’s No. 1 doubles team of Eamonn Scott and Austin Boaz won their first round of the NBL doubles tournament, but failed to advance farther.