Finding Their Groove

Brandon Hunley hit one of his team's three home runs on Sunday as the Crabs swept the Menlo Park Legends and improved to 23-10

Crabs take three from Menlo Park Legends
by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (July 13, 2014) — In the first two games of their series against the Menlo Park Legends, the Crabs needed eighth-inning rallies to pull out narrow victories. Figuring they couldn’t count on being able to score four runs in the eighth every time out, the Crabs took a novel approach in Sunday’s series finale - getting ahead early and staying there.

Brandon Hunley, Brent Gillespie and Taylor Tempel homered to power the offense, and Zach Stone threw seven shutout innings as the Crabs beat the Legends 7-1 to complete the sweep after Friday and Saturday’s come-from-behind wins by scores of 8-6 and 5-4 respectively.

“It was good to get the sweep,” said Manager Tyson Fisher. “We scored some runs, and Stone was pretty good on the mound. Seven innings, no runs, I think he gave up three hits…. We were able to get the sweep against a team that we wanted to get the sweep against.”

After Trent Goodrich singled in EJ Stanton to start the scoring in the third, Hunley went “Freeway Ball” in the fourth. Gillespie hit a two-run blast to right in the sixth. After the Legends scored a run in the top of the eighth to make it 4-1, Tempel squashed any thought of a Menlo Park comeback with a two-run shot of his own in the bottom of the frame.

The Crabs have now won 10 of their past 11, dropping only a 6-3 decision to the Alameda Merchants in the second of two midweek games last week.

“I think our guys are settled in, they’re comfortable with everything now,” said Fisher. “Now they’re just going out and playing each and every day. they know what’s expected of them each and every day, they know what they’re going to get and going to work.

Gillespie for one certainly was comfortable in the batter’s box against the Legends. In addition to his two-run homer on Sunday, Gillespie had provided the big blow in Saturday’s comeback win — a two-out, three-run triple to deep right-center that negated a fine pitching performance by the Legends’ Zachary Gross and propelled the Crabs to a 5-4 victory.

“We’re becoming more of a team,” Gillespie said. “I think we’re bringing it all together. Our pitching staff is excellent and we’re hitting when we need to, with two outs and runners in scoring position.”

The triple capped a three-hit, four-RBI night for Gillespie, who nearly doubled his season RBI output in two games.

“I have a leg kick,” he said, “and I’ve been struggling, leaning forward, not leaning back and that’s messing up my timing, but these last two days I’ve gotten it down in time and I’ve been much more comfortable.”

Friday night’s win came thanks in part to Legends pitcher Tim Willittes suddenly falling out of his comfort zone. Willittes had cruised through the first three innings allowing only an unearned run in the first, but in the fourth it all fell apart. Willittes issued three straight bases-loaded walks to Crabs hitters, giving Humboldt the lead and abruptly ending his night.

Still, the Crabs found themselves trailing 5-4 entering the bottom of the eighth. But Goodrich singled in pinch runner Ansel Cecil to tie the game, and Alex Crosby drove in two more with a single of his own as the Crabs took the lead for good.

Now the team sports a solid 23-10 record as they hit the home stretch of the season, and Fisher is looking to see his squad finish things off strong.

“We’ve got three weeks left, and just because there might not be a league or a tournament at the end, we’ve still got a lot to play for,” he said. “We’ve got a chance to finish thing on a pretty good run of what we’ve been doing, and I think that they’re all bought into it.”

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday at 6pm on KIEM News Ch. 3  Sports. This Sunday, Chet Davis interviews Crabs infielders Brandon Hunley, Brent Gillespie, outfielder Taylor Tempel, pitcher Johnny Melero and recruiter Robin Guiver.

• Read up on all the Crabs games from the daily newspaper in town, the Times-Standard.

• View all our photos from the weekend our Facebook page.

• Each week we'll have a new player supplement inside the Crabs program for sale at the ball park with scorecards, new player photos, special events, social media info and a week wrap up story by Erik Fraser. There is also a Crabs Kid's program available that comes with crayons for your little crabbie.

• #Life As A Crab by Leon Villagomez for Humboldt Made blog and photos. 

Welcoming in the Class of 2014

As part of their annual Alumni Weekend festivities, the Crabs held a pregame ceremony on Saturday to officially induct its Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

The class consisted of 10 players spanning nearly the entire history of the organization, from Red Hunt, the first Crabs pitcher ever, to Jeff Giacomini, who’s only five years removed from his playing days with the team. They also inducted the 1981 Crabs team, which went 43-10 and at one point won 25 consecutive games.

Here is the entire list of honorees:

  • Eldridge “Red” Hunt (1945-48)
  • Carl Del Grande (1948-51, 1954-55)
  • Dennis Pontoni (1959-64)
  • Augie Garrido (1959-61, 1966)
  • Rich Nye (1965)
  • Richard Bordi (1978)
  • Roderick Booker (1979)
  • Steve Neel (1984-85)
  • Gary Wilson (1989)
  • Jeff Giacomini (2007-09)

Click here for detailed biographical information on all of this year’s inductees put together by Crabs historian Brice Gummersall.

Home Cooking Tastes Sweet

The Crabs returned to Arcata weary from a 2-4 road trip, but quickly put it behind them, reeling off six straight wins

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (July 6, 2014) — The road was rocky, but at home this past week, it was nothing but smooth sailing for the Crabs.

After a disappointing 2-4 record on their only road trip of the season, the Crabs returned to the Arcata Ball Park and promptly won six straight. They dominated Fontanetti’s Athletics in a midweek series by a combined score of 25-4, then ground out three one-run victories against the Solano Mudcats to push their record to 19-9.

“It was outstanding,” said Crabs Manager Tyson Fisher. “Not only getting a sweep against a quality team with three one-run ballgames, but getting the weeklong sweep was pretty good. I like how the guys are playing right now.”

After such a lopsided series against Fontanetti’s, was Fisher worried that his team would become complacent?

“No and, I think that that all starts on Friday night with (Andrew) Nelson,” said Fisher. “I think that our pitching was outstanding all weekend, and players feed off of that.”

Nelson earned Fisher’s praises with 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball in the opener against the Mudcats. He needed to be good as the Crabs only managed a single run themselves.

“He’s been the guy,” Fisher said of Nelson, “and he works at it, to get better each and every start. He has a plan in mind, and he does it all week long, to get to where he’s ready for Friday night. I can’t say enough about him.”

Jake Shull followed up Nelson’s performance with another solid outing on Saturday. He allowed just one run on four hits over six innings before allowing Mack Meyer and Zach Williams to finish the job in a 2-1 win.

The welcome-back winning streak almost ended Sunday however, as the Crabs had to battle back twice to beat the Mudcats 6-5 in extra innings in their series final. The second comeback came in the 12th inning after a Nick Spini single scored Alvaro Rubacaba to give Solano a 5-4 lead.

Trent Goodrich started the bottom of the 12th with a single, moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt, and made his way to third on a groundout by Alex Crosby. Morgan McCasland then ripped a triple just over the head of left fielder Nick Perez to score Goodrich and tie the game, breathing new life into a weary and sun-baked crowd.

With Beau Bozett pinch-running for McCasland, the Mudcats issued intentional passes to both EJ Stanton and Taylor Tempel, loading the bases for AB Blanchet.

With one out, all Blanchet needed to do was hit a fly ball deep enough to score Bozett. Well, Blanchet left no doubt, crushing a ball high and deep to right. The right fielder didn’t even bother to look up, and as Bozett scampered home with the winning run, the Crabs poured out of the dugout to mob Blanchet near first base.

For a while, it didn’t look like the Crabs would even get to extra innings. Solano jumped ahead 4-0 after two innings, thanks in part to a pair of outfield hits that barely eluded diving Crabs outfielders Ansel Cecil and Kyle Moses.

Blanchet finally got the Crabs on the board when he singled in Brent Gillespie in the fifth. But what could have been a bigger rally was squashed by Mudcats reliever Donnie Gardiner, who induced two strikeouts and a popup, leaving Crabs standing at second and third.

The game-tying rally would come in the seventh, gift-wrapped, and tied with a bow by the Mudcats. With two outs, the bases loaded and a run already in, McCasland and Gillespie both “took one for the team,” forcing in two runs to knot things up at 4 and set up the extra-innings drama.

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday night at 6pm on KIEM News Ch. 3 Sports

Redding and Humboldt series heats up

Postcards from the Road
By Allen Scott/For the Humboldt Crabs
Redding Series: June 27 - June 29

REDDING, CA (June 28, 2014)  — In a controversy filled game at Redding on Saturday night, the Humboldt Crabs dropped the second game of the three game series 6-3.  Eight Crabs were ejected from the game at different times including manager Tyson Fisher.  The Colt 45 manager Rick Bosetti was also tossed but none of his players went out despite a bench clearing incident.

     The Crabs scored first on a double by Kyle Moses and the RBI single by Trent Goodrich in the third inning.  Redding countered back in the bottom of the inning on the first of the several arguments.  Third baseman EJ Stanton fielded a slow roller and fired to first.  First baseman Brent Gillespie, in the eyes of the Crabs, recorded the out, pulled the ball out of his glove to throw it around the infield.  His throw to shortstop Goodrich was off line and all of a sudden Jack Flahrity of the Colt 45's took off for second and then third.  The umpire contended that Gillespie had dropped the ball.  Crabs manager Tyson Fisher argued that the drop was on the exchange from the glove.  Fisher lost and was ejected.

     The controversy re-started in the Crabs sixth when Morgan McCasland was hit by a pitch and EJ Stanton collided with the 45's first baseman in the course of running out an infield hit.  Runners advance with the ball down the right field line and the first baseman on the ground. 

     Colt 45's catcher Cole Taylor took exception and fronted off Stanton near the Crabs dugout, prompting several Crabs to come off the bench, follow in suit by Colt 45's from their bench.  The only players tossed were Humboldt team members.

     The 45's manager was tossed on a disputed call at home when an errant McCasland toss to second got away but Matt Sinatro pounced on the ball, throwing to McCasland for the out, the argument, and the ejection. 

The Crabs are now 13-8 on the season.

Saturday's Box Score:
Crabs        001 001 001   3  5  2
Redding    001 100 11X   6  9  3

WP:  Alex Lee
LP:  Dillon Houser

Attendance: 585

For full box score, click here: Redding Colt 45s Point Streak page.

Redding Searchlight article about the game by HSU Alumni Nate Abaurrea, click here.

Article by Ray Aspuria from the Times-Standard newspaper in Eureka, click here.

Friday, June 27 • From Tiger Field, Redding:
• Friday night's attendance: 649
• Friday night's score: Crabs 10, Colt 45s 0
• Read the game summary from the Times-Standard, click here.
• Friday night's Full box score from the Redding Colt 45s website, click here.
• Article from the Redding Searchlight, click here.

Sunday, June 29 • From Tiger Field, Redding: 
• Sunday night's score: Crabs 3, Colt 45s 10
• Sunday's box score from the Redding Colt 45s website, click here.
• The Crabs record: 13 Wins and 9 Losses
• Redding Searchlight article, click here.
• Times-Standard Eureka article, click here.

Athlete of the Week with Chet Davis from KIEM News Ch. 3

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday on KIEM News. Ch. 3


Let's Shake Things Up

Tyson Fisher's decision to stick Alex Crosby in the leadoff spot paid off bigtime as the Crabs won four straight heading into their six-game road trip

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (June 22, 2014) — Looking for a way too spark the team’s offense after losing three straight games last week — two in shutout fashion — Crabs Manager Tyson Fisher threw Alex Crosby into the leadoff spot on Wednesday, June 18 against the Marysville Gold Sox.

Crosby, a first baseman and designated hitter, has spent most of the year smack-dab in the heart of the order, and isn’t exactly your prototypical leadoff hitter, but there was reasoning behind Fisher’s decision.

“I wanted to have him be more aggressive,” said Fisher. “I think that at times he can kind of not be as aggressive and misses some pitches, and that’s when he gets himself out. I was trying to give him a jolt, and give our whole team a jolt. We need to be aggressive with fastballs, and he’s a guy that if you put him in that spot, he does it.”

Crosby quickly made Fisher look like a genius. In his first at-bat atop the order, Crosby singled, and a few minutes later he scored the Crabs’ first run in 18 innings on a Manny Ramirez, Jr. home run.

Crosby would proceed to pound out six hits in his first 10 at-bats as a leadoff man as the Crabs snapped out of their funk, beat the Gold Sox 5-1, and then swept their weekend opponent, the Auburn Wildcats, by a combined score of 22-5.

But by no means did Crosby do it alone. The entire team seemed to respond to a lecture from Fisher after losing their third straight last Tuesday.

“I don’ know if it’s anything I said, or if they just came to the realization that a 10-0 loss isn’t good enough,” said Fisher. “We don’t want to lose, especially 10-0 with a poor effort. I don’t mind losing, but you play hard. The effort wasn’t there.”

The offense, which had batted a paltry .168 during the losing streak, came to life, to the tune of a .290 average in building a four-game winning streak heading into their only road trip of the season.

On Wednesday, it was Ramirez’ first home that set the tone as the Crabs put together a tidy win against a tough Gold Sox team. On Friday, Crosby was the catalyst as the Crabs scored early and often in a 10-1 win over the Wildcats. On Saturday, E.J. Stanton — who is somewhat quietly the Crabs leader with a .395 average — drove in three runs in a 6-2 win.

Then on Sunday, with the Crabs looking to complete the sweep, Brandon Hunley, replaced Crosby in the leadoff spot, with Fisher hoping for the same result. Hunley delivered, with a big double in a four-run fourth inning on Sunday to complete the sweep, again by a score of 6-2.

The pitchers did their part as well. The starters, Jake Shull, Andrew Nelson, Dillon Houser and Zach Stone, all delivered solid outings of two or fewer earned runs. The bullpen did even better, putting up 13 2/3 innings of shutout ball over the four games.

“Guys are finally starting to gel,” said Fisher. “it took a little bit longer than we would have liked, but that’s the makeup of this group. I’m very happy that the guys are doing some things on their own, and starting to see Humboldt County and enjoy it.”

They won’t be seeing much of Humboldt County over the next week. They’ve embarked on a road trip that will take them to the Bay Area and then Redding, returning to the Arcata Ball Park on Tuesday, July 1. While they’re on the road you can catch them on KGOE 1480 AM or watch the UStream broadcast.

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday night on KIEM News. Ch.3 Sports

ROAD SCHEDULE: Catch the Crabs on Tuesday, June 24 vs. Walnut Creek Crawdads @ Laney College, 900 Fallon St. Oakland, 94607 at 5:30pm; Wednesday, June 25 vs Menlo Park Legends @ Palo Alto High School 50 Embarcadero Rd/El Camino Field off Churchill Ave/Castilleja Ave, Palo Alto, 94301 at 5pm; Thursday, June 26 vs Neptune Beach Pearl @ Laney College, 900 Fallon St., Oakland, 94607 at 6pm and Friday, June 27 thru Sunday, June 29 vs the Redding Colt 45s @ Tiger Field 1101 Parkview Ave Redding, 96001 at 7:15pm, 7:15pm and 6pm. 

Listen to the games on 1480 AM KGOE For the Redding series, listen to Humboldt State graduate Nate Abaurrea on — the Redding Colt 45s broadcast.

Reality Check

The defending NBC World Series champion Seattle Studs rolled into Arcata and took two of three from the Crabs

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (June 15, 2014) — They may have been asking for it by bringing in the defending National Baseball Congress World Series champions, but the Crabs received a bit of a reality check this weekend, dropping two of three games against the Seattle Studs, ending the series with a disappointing one-hit performance as they were shut out for the first time this season, 9-0.

“They’re very, very good," Crabs manager Tyson Fisher said of the Studs. “They swing the bats well, they took advantage of every mistake that we made pitching, and they made us work for it. They’re not the national champion for no reason. …They find ways to put pressure on you and that’s exactly what they did (to us).”

Sunday’s game seemed doomed from the start as the visitors took a 2-0 lead without the benefit of a hit in the top of the first, thanks to a walk, an error on a sacrifice attempt, and an RBI-groundout. Then in the bottom of the inning, Alex Crosby hit a long fly ball to left that bounced off the top of the tall fence onto the freeway, but three feet foul.

That long strike would prove to be the best ball the Crabs hit all day against Studs starter Scott Kuzminsky and a trio of relievers. In fact, the only tally in the “H” column for the Crabs was an infield single that Crosby barely beat out in the fourth.

Meanwhile, the Studs just kept adding to their early lead, scoring in each of the first four frames. They added two more in the sixth, and cruised to an easy victory, taking the drama out of an otherwise splendid sunny Father’s Day afternoon before 1,547 at the Arcata Ball Park.

The weekend had started out well enough as the Crabs took the series opener 8-5. Andrew Nelson stifled the Studs over six innings on the mound. Morgan McCasland’s second homer of the year got the Crabs’ offense started, and a five-run third put the home team comfortably ahead. A four-run rally by the Studs in the eighth made things interesting, but the Crabs held on.

On Saturday, back-to-back homers by Brent Gillespie and Taylor Tempel gave the Crabs an early 2-1 lead, but they only seemed to jolt the Studs to life, as they racked up 11 runs on 16 hits. Gillespie hit another homer in the fourth, but that was all the Crabs would get until the ninth, when a four-run rally proved to be too little, too late.

Despite the disappointing result against Seattle, Fisher believes the weekend provided his team valuable early-season experience.

“We want to win the series, but playing three games against a team like this, I feel like it only makes us stronger for later on, and that’s going to be the message to the guys,” Fisher said. “We can handle this one of two ways: we can hang our heads about it, or we can bounce back on Tuesday and try to get better and learn from mistakes, and that way later on in the season we’re winning those games.”

They had better learn from those mistakes quickly, as their midweek opponents, the Marysville Gold Sox, with provide another tough test during what is probably the toughest portion of the 2014 schedule.

Healdsburg is quality, and then this weekend we had Seattle and they’re quality, and then youv’e got Marysville, and they’re quality,” said Fisher. “But we want to be one of those elite teams, so we’ve got to play those elite teams. We look forward to getting back to the ballpark on Tuesday and working hard.”

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday night on News Ch. 3 Sports

The Seattle Studs come to town and you can win a free gas BBQ from Piersons

Father's Day weekend jammed packed with prizes and fun!

Weekend Preview

ARCATA (June 12) — The NBC World Series Champions, the Seattle Studs come to town for Father's Day weekend.

Founded in 1954 by Ben Cheney of Cheney Lumber Company in Tacoma, the Seattle Tacoma Cheney Studs are one of the most tenured amateur baseball organizations in the country. The Studs in 2013 competed in Northwest Baseball for the 59 consecutive year and won it! More than 100 former and active professional baseball players have donned the Seattle Tacoma Cheney Studs uniform. The Studs traditionally participate in tournaments in Kelowna, B.C., Kamloops, B.C.  The National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, KS and the Grand Forks International Tournament in British Columbia. In 2008 and 2010 the Seattle Tacoma Cheney Studs finished 2nd in the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kansas, the highest finishes ever for the Studs.  The Seattle Tacoma Cheney Studs team tradition for 60 years has been a mix of current college players with ex-professional players making us an experienced baseball team that competes hard in every game and is very entertaining to watch and follow.

Friday's game will start at 7pm, gates open at 6pm. It's Pirate Night, so dress up in your favorite pirate outfit and you may win a special prize. The World Famous Crab Grass Band will be attendance. Saturday's contest starts early at 2:30pm due to two events on the Arcata Plaza with gates opening at 1:30pm. Get to the ball park early as parking in town will be very limited. In the right field picnic area fans are invited to a $1.00 oyster BBQ with the proceeds going toward the Crabs and Arcata Little League. Sunday's match starts at 12:30pm. Kids can play and draw Crabby signs out in left field. Supplies donated by Humboldt County Office of Education.

Plus, our long time supporter, Piersons will be giving away special pre-Father's Day prizes. Win a Weber gas BBQ from Piersons during our weekend Father's Day raffle ($770 value). Enter both on Saturday and Sunday and you can win a brand, new BBQ! Winning ticket drawn during Sunday's game. Need not be present to win.

Humboldt's daily Times-Standard newspaper will be giving away some tickets to the game on Sunday at the front gate with a Sunday subscription — so sign up. You can find all your Crabs game news online.

The Crab Grass Band will be at the game on Sunday and after the game, the kids can run the bases and high five all the Crabs players down the third base line.

We've updated our Code of Conduct and Alcohol Policy and we hope you read it carefully before you come to the City of Arcata's ball park.

Once you're inside the gates, make sure you check out all the artwork provided by South Bay Elementary and Arcata Elementary Schools. They were tasked to draw what they thought was good sportsmanship at Crabs games. Every child who drew a photo won a special prize.

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday night at 6pm on KIEM News Ch. 3

Not Perfect, But Not Far Off

Dillon Houser dominated the Seals on Sunday, helping the Crabs bounce back from their first loss to improve to 5-1 on the season

By Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (June 8, 2014) — The game of baseball being what it is, there’s no chance whatsoever the Crabs were going to go undefeated this season. That said, it’s always a little bit of a letdown when that first loss comes.

That loss came on Saturday, June 7, as the Humboldt came out flat against Seals Baseball, and after a game-tying ninth-inning rally, they ultimately fell 6-4 in 10 innings, ending the team’s four-game season-opening win streak.

But not wanting the taste of losing to linger in their mouths, the Crabs came storming back on Sunday, June 8, topping the Seals 10-1 in the rubber match of the series to improve to 5-1 on the young season.

“I talked to the guys last night, I kind of challenged them,” manager Tyson Fisher said after Sunday’s game. “We weren’t very good (Saturday) night. To win (Sunday) was pretty important to us. The guys were excited to get back out there.”

After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, the Crabs scored three in a wild second inning to jump-start their offense. With the bases loaded and two outs, Matthew Sinatro came to the plate. On a two-strike count, he started to offer at a ball in the dirt, but held up. The Seals appealed, then protested when the appeal was denied.

Given new life and with the runners in motion on a full count, Sinatro chopped a ball toward the hole between first and second base and busted down the line. Three defenders converged on the ball, and Sinatro beat them all to first. Manny Ramirez, Jr., scored easily from third, and Trent Goodrich never stopped running, scoring from second. Then when the throw home got away, EJ Stanton, who had started the play on first, scampered home for a 3-1 lead.

“It was pretty weird, there was a lot of stuff going on right there,” said Fisher. “At that point we were kind of struggling a little offensively, so I was just happy to get three runs any way we could.”

The play had to be deflating for a Seals team that thought it had the third out of the inning recorded. They never recovered, managing only one hit against Crabs starter Dillon Houser.

“We were a little short on pitching today so that performance Houser did was tremendous,” said Fisher. “He was very, very efficient, pounded the zone and was able to go seven strong (innings), with not very many pitches.”

While Houser cruised, the Crabs added to their lead, scoring three times in the sixth and four in the eighth, the last two on a home run by pitcher-turned-pinch hitter Brian Bynum.

“Bynum comes to the yard every day, he always wants to hit,” said Fisher. “He takes (batting practice) every day. I talked to him, and told him ‘You’re a pitcher first, but I’ll find a way to get you some at-bats,’ and this was that spot.”

The Crabs had taken the series opener 7-2, powered by a strong pitching performance by Andrew Nelson, who improved to 2-0 on the season, and Alex Crosby, whose three-run homer in the third gave the Crabs a lead they would not relinquish.

They almost managed to pull off the comeback Saturday despite a lackluster performance. Taylor Tempel and Ramirez drove in runs in the ninth to knot things up at 4, but they couldn’t get another runner home from third. Then the first two Seals batters of the 10th walked, and both ultimately scored.

Earlier in the week, the Crabs beat the Valley Bears 5-2 in a single game on Wednesday. Crosby and Morgan McCasland doubled home runs in the first for an early lead, and Eureka’s Justin Hatch threw five innings of one-hit ball.

• Check out Crabs Corner from News Ch. 3 KIEM

McCasland, Crabs Start Things Off Right

The junior from New Mexico Highlands University hit for the cycle over the first two days of the season as the Crabs swept the Indians

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (June 1, 2014) — Morgan McCasland made sure the Tyson Fisher era of Crabs baseball got off on the right foot.

The junior from New Mexico Highlands University hit for the cycle over the first two days of the season, going 3-for-3 with a double and a triple in a 10-0 Crabs win over the visiting Fairfield Indians on Saturday night, then jolting a three-run blast to center to help lift Humboldt out of an early hole en route to an 8-6 victory on Sunday.

“I was seeing the ball really well yesterday,” said McCasland. “They were giving me pitches to hit, and it’s a good ballpark to hit, the wind’s blowing out all the time I feel like. I struck a few times (on Sunday), but I got one pitch to hit and I put it over the fence.”

Fisher foresees big things from McCasland this summer.

“I think he got the cycle in 6 ABs, he’s a special player,” said Fisher. “ He’s a pretty humble guy off the field, and competes and gives us some good at-bats. Defensively he’s pretty good, too. I think he’s going to be a fan favorite and also a team favorite. I think he’s going to be a leader on this team.

Though it’s only been a couple of days, McCasland is loving Humboldt so far.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “These fans love us and I haven’t even met any of them. It’s a good atmosphere and I’m loving it.”

The atmosphere was as “awesome” as ever on opening weekend. On Saturday night, 1,559 fans packed into the Arcata Ball Park to welcome the Crabbies back into their lives for the 70th consecutive summer. Sunday wasn’t quite as packed, but those who were there went home happy after a perfect start to the year.

It took some work to make it perfect however, as the Indians took the early lead with a rapid-fire second inning rally. With two outs, five consecutive Fairfield hitters found a way to put the ball through the left side of the infield against starter Johnny Melero for a 5-1 lead.

But under their new coach the Crabs never panicked.

“I told them, ‘Don’t stress, just put some good swings on it,” said Fisher. “We had enough time to bounce back.”

And bounce back they did, thanks in large part to McCasland’s homer in the third, which made it 5-4. They would tie the game later in the inning on an RBI double by EJ Stanton.

Two runs in the sixth on hits by Beau Bozett and Taylor Tempel put the Crabs up for good. Brian Bynum picked up the win in relief of Melero.

On Saturday, Andrew Nelson got the call on the mound for the opener, and held the Indians in check until the Crabs’ offense could get rolling. And once it got rolling, it couldn’t be stopped. It started with back-to-back doubles by McCasland and AB Blanchett for a 1-0 lead after four innings.

That opened the flood gates, as they scored in every inning the rest of the way, ending the game a few minutes early when Alex Crosby doubled home Bozett in the eighth to invoke the 10-run rule.

The Crabs will get a few days off now to soak in opening weekend before returning to the field on Wednesday, when they play the Valley Bears at 7 p.m. And if the first two games are any indication, it’s going to be a fun season.

“This seems like a good group of guys,” said McCasland. “I’m looking forward to this summer.”

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday night at 6pm on News Ch. 3


Kyle Moses, the Crabs' 2013 Most Valuable Player, returns to lead the squad into its 70th season

By Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (May 2014) — The Crabs are so excited to celebrate their 70th consecutive season of summer baseball that they couldn’t even wait until the calendar hit June to begin.

Yes, this year’s milestone season for the Crabbies begins on Saturday, the last day of May, against their old friends the Fairfield Indians at 7 p.m. This year’s team features a new coaching staff, four returning players, several local standouts, and a name that’s going to sound familiar to baseball fans.

Taking over at the helm this year is Fortuna native and former Crab Tyson Fisher. Helping him fill the big shoes left by outgoing manager Matt Nutter are assistants Eric Giacone, Andrew Ayers, and David Flores. Giacone, the current Eureka High coach, and Ayers, a high school star at St. Bernard’s, are also both Crabs alumni, and Flores is a one-time draft pick of the Houston Astros.

It always makes it easier on a new coaching staff if the team has a proven commodity in the lineup. And Fisher and Co. will definitely have that, as headlining the returning players is the team’s 2013 MVP, Kyle Moses.

Moses was the prototypical leadoff hitter for the team that won the Far West League title a year ago, leading the team in batting average, doubles, runs and stolen bases. But even those stats don’t show Moses’ full value to the team. He seemed to be in the middle of every big rally the Crabs had last year, and his enthusiasm in the dugout spread to everyone on the team.

Other familiar names Crabs fans will see include Trent Goodrich, who hit .313 as the team’s starting shortstop last year, and pitchers Brian Bynum and Andrew Nelson. Nelson wasn’t on the 2013 team, but was 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA in 2012.

Nelson also happens to be one of a number of local players on this year’s team. A pair of College of the Redwoods standouts, Ansel Cecil and Justin Hatch — both of whom were named Golden Valley Conference players of the week this season —  will trade their crimson and yellow for Crabs red and blue this summer. Cecil led the Corsairs with a .338 average and 18 stolen bases, and Hatch’s 2.74 ERA was second best on the team.
Lefty Zach Stone from UC Davis, who in high school was the Big 5 MVP as a sophomore at Eureka High, and catcher Luis Bressoud, add to the local flavor of the 2014 team.

As for that familiar name, there is one Manny Ramirez Junior on this year’s squad. Ramirez is the son of the former MLB star by the same name, and is already familiar with the Arcata Ball Park, having come up last year as a member of the California Warriors. And if you were there for those games, you know the kid has his dad’s power — he hit a pair of balls onto the freeway during their July visit.

That’s just a glimpse of what awaits Crabs fans in 2014. To get the whole story, you’re going to have to go out and watch it unfold.

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