Summer baseball: Healdsburg Prune Packers capture 3rd consecutive league title

Bouncing back from an opening loss, Healdsburg reeled off two wins in a row over the weekend to secure a third consecutive California Collegiate League title.|

It’s officially a three-peat.

Bouncing back from an opening loss, the Healdsburg Prune Packers summer baseball squad reeled off two wins in a row over the weekend to secure a third consecutive California Collegiate League title.

Healdsburg broke open Sunday’s title-deciding finale with a four-run seventh inning en route to an 8-5 victory.

Winners of the league’s north division, the Prune Packers had to go on the road for their third title, playing a best-of-three series against southern division champion Arroyo Seco.

The Saints struck first in the series, winning Friday’s opener in Pasadena 7-3.

The action shifted to Thousand Oaks for the Saturday and Sunday must-win games the Prune Packers were facing.

The Healdsburg club responded with a late rally to take a narrow 5-4 lead in Saturday’s contest, then survived a ninth-inning challenge by the Arroyo Seco offense to preserve the advantage.

In Sunday’s contest, the Prune Packers scored first with an RBI single by Peyton Schulze in the second inning.

The Saints responded in the third with a run of their own, and the game continued tied 1-1 until the Prune Packers’ Hunter Dorraugh connected for a solo home run in the fifth.

The lead didn’t last long. In the bottom of the inning, the Saints’ Kyte McDonald knocked in a run to tie the game at 2.

The Prune Packers didn’t have to wait long to regain the lead, however. Dorraugh’s sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth scored one run, and then Connor Charpiot’s RBI double made it 4-2.

Healdsburg would maintain a lead the rest of the way, highlighted by the four-run seventh.

After Schulze singled and Jayden Duplantier was hit by a pitch to put two runners on, Kimble Schuessler bunted to Arroyo Seco pitcher Ethan Moran.

But Moran’s throw to third base to get the lead runner sailed into left field and then into the bullpen, allowing Schulze and Duplantier to score and Scheussler to end up on third with no outs.

Travis Sanders followed with a single into center field to score Schuessler and make it 7-2.

The Saints made a pitching change, but the Prune Packers continued to connect. Robbie Hamchuk singled and Sanders moved to third base on an out by Damien Bravo.

Then, on an 0-2 pitch, Dorraugh hit a grounder up the middle that glanced off the pitcher’s glove and sparked confusion among the Arroyo Seco middle infielders. Hamchuk was out at second but Sanders scored and Dorraugh reached first base on what could have been a simple double play.

At the seventh-inning stretch, the Prune Packers’ lead had reached 8-2.

The Saints added a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth, but it wasn’t enough to catch Healdsburg at that point and prevent the Prune Packers’ championship three-peat.

The Prune Packers end the year with a 26-9 regular-season record and a 42-10 overall mark.

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