Opening Weekend is a Smashing Success

In the end, the ever-present threat of rain on Saturday only served to make the Sunday afternooon sun all the more glorious, and the shortened bench of opening weekend proved to be no problem at all.

Yes, the opening weekend of the 67th season of Crabs baseball was an unqualified success, with the home team clobbering the Fairfield Indians 10-2, 13-1 and 9-2 to start the season off on the right foot before crowds that blew away the numbers of the past two seasons.

"The offense came out fired up and looked good," said Crabs manager Matt Nutter. "It was good to see the local guys out there hammering the ball."

Indeed, the homegrown players on the Crabs' roster had themselves quite a weekend. David Del Grande, a St. Bernard's grad now playing at Sacramento State, led the way with seven hits in 11 at-bats, good for a .636 average, to go with six RBIs. Andrew Ayers, a returning Crab from last year who also played with Del Grande at St. B's and Sac. State, is hitting .455.

Brad Morgan, filling in until more of the players arrive next week, seems to be trying to make a case to stay on the team with five hits in nine at-bats. Jordan Davis hit a huge double on Sunday, and also showed off his arm behind the plate in picking off an Indian at second with the bases loaded and no outs. Garth Bonomini turned a couple of nifty double plays in the field, and Zach O'Hanen pitched two innings on Sunday, yielding only an unearned run.

Of course, it wasn't just the locals making noise. Cody Gappa hit .500 and leads the team with an .875 slugging percentage. Justin Higley is already endearing himself to fans, thanks in part to a grand slam that ended Saturday's second game.

Nutter acknowledged there was a bit of rustiness — John Austin struggled at times but danced out of trouble several times on Sunday — but noted that Austin had had some time off since his last outing. "You expect that this time of year," Nutter said, "but once everyone gets in I think we'll be fine. We've got some big boys coming in so the lineup will be solid. I'm excited to put these guys all out there and see what they can do."

The Crabs play their local rivals, the Steelheads, Wednesday at 7 p.m. in their last tune-up before starting play in the new Far West League when Fontanetti's Athletics roll into town starting Friday night.