It was baseball weather at Saturday evening, warm and clear with a hint of breeze. But the wind picked up when starting pitchers took the mound, Max Rubenstein of the Healdsburg Owls facing the hard-hitting line-up of the Windsor Wonders.
Windsor ended up on top over Healdsburg, with the final score 12 to 6.
Although the Wine Country Baseball 2011 season is two weeks old, this was the first day for games at Healdsburg's Rec Park. Fans enjoyed plenty of room in the newly-remodeled Clarence Ruonavaara Grandstand at McCaffrey Field, starting off with Santa Rosa vs. Oakdale at 2:30. The second game of the double-header got underway a little after 6:30
The game was preceded by the 'Star Spangled Banner,' not sung by a pop star or a local choir but played on a Fender Stratocaster by Alex Boston. The distorted, feed-back heavy anthem was reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix' deconstructed version played at Woodstock, but it was recognizable. It drew applause nonetheless -- the fans had come to see baseball, and a little feedback wasn't going to put them off their game.
Rubenstein gave up two runs on a variety of small-ball plays - a stolen base here and there, opportunistic sacrifices and hits - then it was Johnnie Harmyck and the Wonders' turn. The lean pitcher kept a tighter rein on the Healdsburg offense, and at the end of the first inning the score stood 2-1, Windsor.
Wine Country Baseball's primary backer, Howard Leonhardt, was in the stands, and like everyone else he seemed to be enjoying a perfect day for baseball.
More details on the game will be forthcoming.