Don Townsend

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Don Townsend used his left arm to carve out an enviable record in three sports at Napa High and beyond. As a reserve forward on the 1945-46 basketball team, Townsend’s left hand set shot beat Santa Rosa in overtime and helped Napa tie for the league championship. He was a member of the 1946-47 league championship team that went to the first Tournament of Champions. He was a starter for the 1947-48 team and received honorable mention All-League honors. As a freshman, he became eligible for football at the halfway mark of the season and threw a touchdown pass in the team’s only win of the season. In 1946 he threw for eight touchdowns and ran for two more in Napa’s 6-1-2 season. In 1947, he threw five more TDs, while also running two into the endzone himself, leading Napa to a 5-2 record. Again in 1948, he was the star passer, runner and place kicker, and was named first team All-NBL quarterback. As a pitcher, his excellent control and pick-off move paced him to a 4-2 sophomore season. His two losses were 1-0 to Analy, when he allowed one hit, and a loss to Tamalpais when infield errors caused his undoing. In 1947, he was 3-2 including another 1-0 loss to Santa Rosa, and a game against San Rafael in which his mates made eight errors. In 1948, he led Napa to a co-championship with a 5-1 record that included another 1-0 loss and one-, two-, three- and four-hit victories and a 13-strike out victory over Tamalpais. Townsend pitched in the 1948 Examiner All-Star game, on a team chosen from all over Northern California. He played on a High School All-Star football team that played three games in Hawaii against Hawaiian high school teams. He passed the All-Stars to one victory. Townsend went on to U.S.F., where he played one year of football and three outstanding years as a pitcher on the baseball team. A leg injury halted his football career, but his sturdy left arm carried him to a professional baseball career in the St. Louis Cardinal organization.

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