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Jim Hunt

Jim Hunt, contributing sports writer

Register file photo

1948: St. Helena High beat Calistoga in baseball 13-0 on Carpy Field. Bob Jursch pitched a no-hitter, striking out 13 Wildcats. Ron Abruzzini was 3 for 5 with two doubles; Sonny Gruppo was 3 for 4 with a double; and Dave Perez went 2 for 3 with a double.

1967: On Carpy Field, the Saints baseball team beat Lower Lake 6-5 in nine innings to win the league pennant for the fifth straight year, and the ninth time in the last 10 years since 1958.

1978: In the first round of the North Coast Section Class A baseball playoffs, the Saints defeated Emery 6-1. Dave Navone pitched a two-hitter, striking out 11. For the season, Navone and Dave Wignall together combined to pitch 114 innings with an ERA of 1.49, striking out 168 batters and compiling a 13-3 record.

1980: At the North Coast Section Meet of Champions held at UC Berkeley, MaryAnn Aguayo finished in eighth place in the 440-meter, setting a new SHHS girls’ school record with a time of 1:03.6.

Plus: No,

It Wasn’t Football

On May 11, 1959, in the era before high school baseball’s “mercy rule,” there was no way to officially put a halt to the onslaught that was occurring on Carpy Field.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Saints led the Geyserville Bronchos 38-0, and there seemed to be no way to stop them from scoring more. The bases were loaded with Saints, when Dave Stockham, Geyserville’s coach, suddenly leaped up from their bench, and called for a timeout.

He took a few of steps toward the third base line, hollered to his team to come off of the field to where he was standing, quickly huddled with them, then turned to the home plate umpire and shouted, “This game is over.”

The tone of the game had been set immediately in the first inning when the Saints scored seven times. The second inning was scoreless, but the tally began to mount in the third when the Saints scored three more runs. In the fourth, led by Walter Raymond’s grand slam, the Saints piled on nine more, and then added six in the fifth to lead 25-0.

Then came the sixth inning in which the Saints scored a school record 13 runs in 1/3 of an inning before the affair was abruptly, and mercifully, ended by Stockham.

As the Star commented the following week, “Geyserville simply could not cope with the hitting of the Saints and displayed a woeful inability to handle the ball or even to know what to do with it if they did.”

One example of that will suffice. In the bottom of the fourth, following Raymond’s grand slam, the Saints had loaded the bases again, when Pete Barnett, Geyserville’s pitcher, noticed that his shirt tail had come out of his pants. He stuffed the ball into his glove and, without asking the umpires for a timeout, stuck the ball and glove between his knees to free his hands to tuck in his jersey.

On seeing this, the Saints’ Tom Myers, on third base, took off for home. Barnett made a grab for his glove, dropped it, and the ball rolled off the mound. He then desperately scrambled for it and threw to home but Myers was already crossing the plate.

As this was happening, the other Saints’ runners, Louis Barberi on second, and Ron Berg on first, also took off running. The Geyserville catcher threw to third, but air-mailed the ball down the third base line into deep left field and both Barberi and Berg scored easily.

Actually, in scoring a school record 38 runs, the Saints had only 17 hits as Geyserville pitchers issued 15 walks and the Bronchos defenders committed an amazing 18 errors.

The Saints compiled 56 plate appearances, or 9.3 per inning. In that 1/3 of an inning in the sixth alone, 21 St. Helena batters stepped to the plate.

Individually, on the day, Berg was 4 for 6 with a double and five runs scored; Mike Werle was 3 for 6 with a double and four RBIs; Tom Myers went 3 for 7 with two triples, a double, and five runs scored; Raymond was 2 for 6, with a homerun, a double, six RBIs, and scored five times; and Chuck Challela scored six runs, still the school record today.

John Ghiringhelli, allowing just two hits, and striking out 12, got the pitching win.

My sister Judy was Coach Tom Giugni’s scorekeeper that afternoon, and she eventually ran out of room on the one page provided in the scorebook and had to use a second page to finish the game.

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