Jim Hunt

Jim Hunt, contributing sports writer

Register file photo

1926: The St. Helena High’s baseball team beat Ryan’s All Stars of Vallejo 11-6 at the SHHS field. Newton York was 4 for 5 with three doubles and three RBIs to lead the hitting, and Theodore Maliani went 3 for 5 with a double.

1985: The softball team beat St. Vincent’s of Petaluma 9-6 in St. Helena. LeeAnne Crow hit a grand slam, the first and one of only two in SHHS softball history. The second was hit by Lisa Carston in 1986.

1994: Kristin Foote set a new record in the girls’ 400-meter dash at 1:05.7 in a dual meet against Encina of Sacramento in St. Helena.

2007: In the Bay Area Blast-Off Distance Festival held in Berkeley, Brian Cole set a new boys’ school record in the 3200 with a time of 9:45.5, breaking John Dunzweiller’s mark of 10:45 set in 1993.

Plus: The SHHS

Carpy Gang

In the spring of 1936 when Al Carpy first began to organize his “gang” of kids, an eager bunch of young 7- and 8-year-olds were at every practice excited to learn and play the game of baseball.

As they entered junior high, SHHS baseball was struggling, having compiled a meager record of just 56-79 from 1940-1946. But, eager to change it all, the young Carpy-Gangers of ’36, now juniors and seniors at SHHS, blossomed into arguably the best baseball team in school history in 1947.

The season began inauspiciously on March 7 as the Saints lost their opener in Geyserville, 5-0, managing just one hit – a Virgil Parodi single in the fifth inning.

On March 12, they came back strong with a 6-0 nonleague win over Calistoga, as Al Harding, one of the greatest pitchers in St. Helena history, tossed a one-hitter, striking out 12.

Four days later, the Saints clobbered Benicia 13-2. Chuck Stanley went 3 for 4 with a double, a triple, four RBIs, and three stolen bases. Harding was again the winning pitcher, allowing only two hits and striking out nine.

On March 26 the Saints drubbed Sonoma 11-4, with Harding getting another win with 12 strikeouts. And then five days later, the Saints hosted Santa Rosa in a Saturday doubleheader, winning the first game 9-3, but losing the second 5-2. The season record now stood at 5-2.

After the spring vacation, the Saints returned to action and beat Napa High 9-8 in a dramatic thriller as Jack Abruzzini smashed a bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the seventh to give the Saints the win.

On April 9, Benicia was defeated 9-8 as Stanley had three doubles and four RBIs. Two days later, in St. Helena, Cloverdale was smashed 16-0 in the first league game of the season as the Saints had 19 hits. Harding notched his fifth win of the season, striking out 10.

On April 15, the Saints played a second nonleague contest with Calistoga, winning 6-1. Stanley was 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs, and Harding allowed just three hits and struck out 14 to get his sixth win.

Three days after, the Saints traveled to Healdsburg for a league game and won 5-4. Gruppo had the only two hits for the Saints, but Healdsburg was kind enough to issue nine walks and commit five errors. Harding picked up his seventh win.

On April 21, on Carpy Field, in the first night game in SHHS history, the Saints beat Calistoga in yet another nonleague game, 9-2.

After a couple of rain-outs, on May 6, the Saints went back to league play, beating Sonoma 14-5 on Carpy Field. Parodi, Jack Abruzzini, and Stanley had two RBIs apiece, and Harding once again got the win. The Saints were now 12-2 on the year.

On May 10 the Saints beat Healdsburg in a league game in St. Helena, 10-0, and followed that with another league win over Calistoga, 7-4. For the season finale, the Saints traveled to Tomales and pulled out a 5-3 league victory.

The Saints finished the 1947 season with 10 wins in a row, compiling a 15-2 record, and winning the North Bay League II pennant with a 5-0 record, scoring 10.4 runs per game in league play. The team’s season batting average was .313, led by Stanley’s 27 hits in 53 at bats for a .509 average, the second highest season batting average in SHHS history. Harding had a 9-0 record on the mound, with a 0.93 ERA, 104 strike-outs (1.5 per inning), and held the opposition to a .176 batting average.

The ever-modest Al Carpy, in a postseason Star article, commented on the team’s great success by saying, “I can’t take any of the credit. From the time these boys were seven years old, they’ve worked their tails off, and all of those long hours of hard work sure paid off.”