Healdsburg opens with wins over Clear Lake, Kelseyville
The overriding theme for high school teams this spring is that athletes and coaches are just happy to be on the field.
That’s definitely the case with the varsity baseball Greyhounds, who are making the most of their opportunity this month.
“The players have been through a lot in the past year and just getting to this point and stepping back out onto a field is a win for the players, parents and the community,” veteran HHS coach Mark Domenichelli said. “I’m happy for the players, and we want to continue the success that we built at the beginning of the season last year.”
The Hounds have already logged two games on the pre-league circuit, posting a pair of 2-1 wins over Clear Lake and Kelseyville.
Healdsburg opened the 2021 campaign in the friendly confines of Recreation Park on March 30, sending senior Justice Brilliant to the hill in what would amount to a stellar performance. Brilliant fired six innings, scattering nine hits while fanning eight before giving way to sophomore reliever Gavin Valls (1 IP, hit, 3 Ks), who kept it tied at 1-1.
The Hounds wasted no time in the bottom of the frame, as all-league catcher Hunter Irons raced home on a clutch, two-out single by Brilliant to walk off with a 2-1 victory.
Valls picked up the win, while top hitters included Brilliant (2 for 4, RBI) and sophomore Sam Vanden Heuvel (2 for 3).
Healdsburg was back in action on Saturday against visiting Kelseyville, again getting a strong start from Brilliant (4 IP, 0 runs, 2 hits, WP) before handing the ball to reliever Jayson Licea (3 IP, 1 runs, 3 hits) in the fifth.
The Hounds capitalized on a late scoring opportunity to stage another winning rally and escape with a 2-1 win.
The Greyhounds should be both talented and fundamentally sound this spring, with the unquestioned leader of the squad being returning all-league senior catcher Hunter Irons. Other key players include Owen Smith, Conroy Smith, Matthew Rowland, Brett Delfino, Vanden Heuvel, Aiden Herrguth, Jack Domenichelli and Cole Conley. The pitching staff will consist of Brilliant, Valls, Licea and Robert Beltran.
“Our goals are to get better every week,” Mark Domenichelli said. “My expectations are for us to play well, compete for seven innings and have fun doing it.”
Healdsburg (2-0) will continue its home-stand against Ukiah on Tuesday, April 6 (7 p.m.), followed by home games against Credo (Thursday, April 8, 6 p.m.) and Cloverdale (Saturday, April 10, 6 p.m.).