Jim Hunt

Jim Hunt, contributing sports writer

Register file photo

1944: In baseball, the Saints beat Napa 9-7 on the St. Helena High School field. Lou Mozzini was 2 for 4 with a home run, and Ernie Nagy and “Chops” Ghiringhelli each added a double. “Chops” was also the winning pitcher, scattering eight hits and striking out 10.

1965: In tennis, the Saints beat Armijo 5-3 in Fairfield. Match winners: Jim Thorsen, No. 1 singles; Jeff Warren, No. 2 singles; Mike Koehn, No. 3 singles; Dennis Johns and Stuart Harrington, No. 1 doubles; and Al Johns and Mike Martin, No. 2 doubles.

1984: The boys tennis team defeated Kelseyville 3-2 in St. Helena. Match winners: Brian Ivanoff, No. 3 singles; Alex Loomis and Chandler Phillips, No. 1 doubles; and Cameron Lim and Dave Trinchero, No. 2 doubles.

1999: The Saints baseball team won at Lower Lake 5-4. Jason Hank was 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs; Jarrett Fenlon went 2 for 3 with a triple and two RBIs; and Ryan Weems was 1 for 2 with an RBI. Fenlon was the winning pitcher allowing just five hits, and striking out six.

Plus: Welcome Back Girls

After a 43-year hiatus, high school softball was finally revived at SHHS in 1980 – the first season since 1937.

Coached by Greg Marvin and led by Dianne Emmolo, Laurie Jackson, Maureen McGrath, Sue Mori, Susan Pun, Mona White, and Jeannine Wignall, the Saints were 5-7 overall, and 5-5 in North Central League action, finishing in fourth place.

Following that first year, the Saints then put together six consecutive winning seasons, compiling an overall win-loss record of 50-35 (.588), and 34-30 (.531) in league play – the best stretch of winning years in SHHS softball history.

Here are a couple of the highlights of those first years back.

April 6, 1980: The first win in modern-day Saints softball saw the girls clobber Point Arena on 16 hits to win 25-3. McGrath was 4 for 7 with five RBIs on two doubles and a home run. In fact, she and Jackson both hit a round-tripper in the third inning, the only time that two players have hit a home run in one inning in Saints softball history. Jackson, herself, was also 4 for 7 with five RBIs. Mori had three hits in five at-bats, including a double and three RBIs; and Wignall was 3 for 6, scoring five runs, which is still the school record.

May 8, 1981: After two innings of play in Lower Lake, the Trojans led the Saints 5-0. Then McGrath, pitching for SHHS, settled into a groove and, for the rest of the game, shut out the Lower Lake offense allowing just one hit. In the meantime, the Saints chipped away at the deficit, scoring once in the third, one more in the fourth, two in the sixth, and finally tied the game in the top of the seventh when Patty Varozza singled in RoseAnn True. McGrath retired the Trojans in order in the bottom of the seventh, and it was on to extra innings. In the top of the eighth, Emmolo singled with two outs. Then Mori doubled to score Emmolo and give the Saints a 6-5 lead. Once again, in the last of the eighth, McGrath was dominant, retiring three Lower Lake batters – one by strike-out and two on weak ground balls to the infield.

March 29, 1982: In St. Helena, the Saints defeated Clear Lake 10-9 in eight innings in as exciting a softball game ever played by SHHS. Trailing 6-0 at the end of the fourth inning, the Saints scored three runs in the fifth, but the Cards came back with three of their own in the top of the sixth to lead 9-3. In the bottom of the sixth, the Saints rallied for four more runs to make the score 9-7. The seventh saw the Saints hold the Cards scoreless and then score two in the bottom of the frame to send the game into extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Varozza knocked in Emmolo, who had doubled with two outs, to win it.

May 20, 1986: In St. Helena, the Saints defeated Kelseyville 27-19 in one of the wildest games ever played by an SHHS softball team. The 27 runs scored is the school record for most runs in one game. During the game, the Saints knocked out a school record 20 hits, and were gifted with 25 walks (another school record). Individually, Angela Galante was three for four with six RBIs (tying the school record set by Beci Ivanoff just two months earlier that season), on two doubles and a home run; April Britton was three for five with four runs driven in; and Ivanoff was also three for five, with three RBIs. As a team, the Saints batted in 19 runs, another school record.