Making a pitch
Richard Robbins (right) tosses a horseshoe while playing against Half Moon Bay Horseshoe Club President Rick Della Santina (left) looks on at Smith Fields in Half Moon Bay on July 18. Adam Pardee / Review

Since late March, the Half Moon Bay Horseshoe Club has canceled 12 of its 14 scheduled events. But now club members are pitching once more.

Just next to the baseball diamonds at Smith Field, 14 club members assembled on more than a dozen courts for the Jimmy Lintt National Horseshoe Pitchers Foundation open tournament.

On the overcast Saturday morning, the round robin-style tournament included competitors who were glad to finally resume competition. The event drew members from Vallejo and Redwood City, and Cesar Espinola made the trip from Seaside in Monterey County.

Much of the conversation during warmups involved lighthearted trash talk. It’s a family-friendly atmosphere, as the club has members ranging from age 9 to 91.

Each tournament is named after a current club member and this one belonged to Lintt, an El Granada resident and former baseball player at Chico State University. Proceeds from a raffle were donated to the NHPF, which promotes the sport and supports its Hall of Fame in Wentzville, Miss. The organization also provided concrete for Half Moon Bay’s courts.

With recreation limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tournament was one of the few live competitions held on the Coastside over the last few months.

On 16 courts, competitors had more than enough space to socially distance. Like golf, organized horseshoe pitching includes a handicap for more experienced players. For the 14 players at Lintt’s tourney, two groups of seven were created so each player would play at least six games, one against every person in their respective group.

Rick Della Santina, the club’s president, won the tourney by going 6-0 and nailing the post on 49 percent of his shots. Alex Voskes, of La Honda, won the other group, ending at 5-1.

What appears to be a grassroots and localized league is connected to a much larger organization. The Half Moon Bay Horseshoe Club is the only league of its kind in San Mateo County, and one of 19 clubs in the Northern California Horseshoe Pitchers Association. In September, pending scheduling issues from the pandemic, Half Moon Bay will host the California State Doubles Tournament.

For a full schedule and game notes, visit the club’s website,

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