ARCATA (Aug. 3, 2015) — What else is there to say but, “Wow”?
An unforgettable 2015 season of Humboldt Crabs baseball is now officially in the books, and what a season it was. The Crabs finished with a stellar 41-9 record, and put the icing on their tasty cake by rolling to the championship of the inaugural Humboldt Invitational Tournament with a perfect 5-0 record.
“This team, they’re just outstanding, said a tired-but-beaming Tyson Fisher after the final out was recorded. “What they’ve done this summer is truly remarkable. You set goals and this team took those goals seriously.”
One of those goals was to finish the season with fewer than 10 losses, and that goal seemed in serious jeopardy when the team suffered its seventh loss on July 5. But the team reeled off a 21-2 run to end the season and accomplished the impressive feat.
“They know what it takes,” said Fisher. “The way that they approached the game here every single day, it’s awesome what they accomplished this summer. We had a solid group of guys that we could count on each and every day they were in the lineup to give us their best.”
And perhaps they were at their very best during the tournament run. The Crabs opened up the tournament against the Pacific Union Financial Capitalists, aka the Pufcaps, a powerful young team that had beaten the Crabs twice in 2014.
The Pufcaps jumped out to an early lead 3-0 lead, but the Crabs, as they’ve proven all year, had no issues playing from behind. They got on the board when big Bobby Schuman uncorked his first – but not his last – homer of the season in the fourth.
They added two more runs in the sixth but were still trailing 4-3 heading into the eighth. That changed quickly when Allen Smoot doubled and Ben Petersen hammered a towering shot onto U.S. 101 to give the Crabs their first lead of the game.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Pufcaps answered with a tying home run in the bottom of the frame, sending the game into extra innings.
In the 11th inning the Pufcaps got generous, giving the Crabs the gift of two errors, and they took advantage, scoring four times to build a 9-5 lead. That was enough to survive a Pufcaps rally in the bottom half, and the Crabs hung on for a hard-earned 9-7 win.
The Crabs cruised through the rest of round-robin play on Friday and Saturday, getting stellar starting pitching from Tyler Bennett, who struck out a season-high 14 batters in eight innings in a 13-1 victory over the Solano Mudcats on Friday, and Donald Robinson, who shut down the Auburn Wildcats for seven innings in a 6-0 win on Saturday. Oh, and Schuman homered both Friday and Saturday, and Smoot extended his hitting streak to 31 games.
That earned the Crabs the top seed going into Sunday’s elimination portion of the tournament. And the first “victory” for the Crabs on Sunday came before they even took the field, as the Pufcaps, widely expected to breeze past the Wildcats in their 2-3 matchup, were completely stifled by Auburn pitcher Jacob Call, managing only an unearned run in a 3-1 loss.
The Crabs then took the field against the Mudcats, and once again, stellar starting pitching led the way. Justin Mullins threw a complete game in his final start of the summer to earn his fifth win and set up a championship showdown with Auburn.
In the finale, Fisher handed the ball to their ace and Pitcher of the Year, Drew Weston. And as usual, Weston dominated, allowing just one run over seven innings. The offense, meanwhile, did its thing, scoring four runs in the fifth and five in the sixth to break open the game and put the place into party mode. Perhaps the only thing that went wrong all day was the end of Smoot’s amazing hitting streak when he put up an 0-fer in the first game.
But all that did was give the crowd a chance to stand and acknowledge the season for the ages that Smoot had in Humboldt. He set all-time Crabs records with 85 hits, 57 RBIs and 27 doubles, and batted .447, making the decision to give him the MVP award possibly the easiest in Fisher’s baseball career.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Fisher said of Smoot’s season. “The guy was just unreal all summer long. I’ve never seen a hit streak like that, never seen a summer like that, never seen a season like that, period. Not only is this team one of the greatest in Crabs history, I feel like, but Smoot has definitely had one of the best summers in Crabs history, there’s no doubt about it.”
Once the game was over and the dog pile on the infield had been untangled, all that was left was awards and goodbyes. As mentioned above, Smoot was MVP and Weston was the Pitcher of the Year. The other award, the Heinig/Morsching Memorial Coaches’ Award, was shared by Blake Edmonson, who played both pitcher and outfield, and Beau Bozett, the second-year leadoff hitter who sparked the Crabs’ offense all year long both on the field and with his infectious enthusiasm in the dugout.
And so Season 71 is done, and it was a season that will be remembered forever by the Crabs family. See you next year!
• Tournament Wrap Up by Danny Penza of the Times-Standard Sports Depart, click here.
ARCATA (July 27, 2015) — Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Allen Smoot doubles in a run to give the Crabs an early lead and extend his hitting streak.
That was the play-by-play in the first inning on both Saturday, July 25 and Sunday the 26th, as the Crabs took two of three from the Healdsburg Prune Packers on the last weekend of the 2015 regular season.
“The guy’s unreal,” said manager Tyson Fisher. “He’s having just an incredible summer. He’s a very even-keeled guy; he’s a great teammate, he works his butt off just like all the great ones do, and he’s just been outstanding for us all summer, getting timely hits and big hits.”
The Crabs first baseman now has a 26-game hitting streak, 24 doubles, and a sparkling .437 average. Even in the Crabs’ only loss of the week, Friday’s opener against Healdburg, Smoot went 3-for-4 and scored the team’s only run.
That loss came at the hands of Healdsburg starter Torgen Soderland, who confounded the Crabs over six shutout innings. Only Smoot’s unearned run in the ninth prevented the team from being shut out for the first time all summer.
But you can’t keep an offense like that down for long. Helped out by a very porous Prune Packers defense, the Crabs counterpunched with a 16-3 victory on Saturday night, then took the series with a tidy, hard-earned 5-1 win on Sunday.
“Our guys did what they needed to do,” said Fisher. “Obviously Friday Healdsburg came and beat us, they beat us pretty handily, and our guys bounced back Saturday and Sunday to get the W’s and win the series, with their backs up against the wall. It says a lot about the team and what these guys are made of. I couldn’t be happier.”
On Saturday night, all they really had to do was take what the Prune Packers gave them. And what they gave them was 10 extra outs. Those 10 extra outs resulted in 10 unearned Crabs runs, which was more than enough with Justin Mullins on the hill. Mullins had one rough inning in the third when Healdsburg scored three runs to briefly tie the game but otherwise cruised through six innings to earn his fourth win.
On Sunday, on a spectacular Humboldt summer afternoon, Fisher gave the ball to Donald Robinson, and in what Fisher called “the biggest Sunday game that we’ve had all season,” Robinson delivered his best performance of the season.
“Donald was outstanding, best start he’s had all summer for us,” said Fisher. “We needed a big start, and it was a big outing for him – six strong and he was really locating pitches I think the best that he’s been all summer.”
And the team behind him was stellar as well. The defense turned two slick double plays – one actually started by Robinson – and the offense cashed in on its chances. Smoot doubled in a run in the first and drove in the Crabs second run with a sacrifice fly in the third, and Brad Pluschkell drove home two runners from third with less than two outs, one one grounder and one on a sac fly.
All of which please Fisher to no end.
“For the guys to put on the show that they did,” he said, “it might have been our best game that we played all summer.”
And what a time to have it – as they head toward the season-ending Humboldt Invitational Tournament.
“Going into this final week, we’ll have some momentum, have some confidence” said Fisher. “Our bats are back to where we need to be.”
After one last midweek series, against the Bay Area Tides on Tuesday and Wednesday, the four-team tournament begins Thursday. It’s a round-robin style format Thursday through Saturday, and then the teams will be seeded based on those games for elimination games starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday (the Crabs will play at 2 p.m. regardless of the seeding). The winners of Sunday’s first two games play for the championship at 6 p.m.
Below is the full tournament schedule:
Thursday, July 30
2 p.m. - Auburn Wildcats vs. Solano Mudcats 7 p.m. - PUF Capitalists vs. Humboldt Crabs
Friday, July 31
2 p.m. - Auburn Wildcats vs. PUF Capitalists 7 p.m. - Solano Mudcats vs. Humboldt Crabs
Saturday, Aug. 1 2 p.m. - PUF Capitalists vs. Solano Mudcats 7 p.m. - Auburn Wildcats vs. Humboldt Crabs
Sunday, Aug. 2 10 a.m. - Elimination Game 1 2 p.m. - Elimination Game 2 (Crabs vs. TBD) 6 p.m. - Championship Game
• Game story by the local newspaper, the Times-Standard, click here.
• News Ch. 2 Crabs Corner, click here.
Humboldt Invitational Tournament: July 30-Aug 2 | Season passes and leftover ten strip tickets will be honored for the tournament. One ticket gets you into both games for the day. Get a Crabs stamp at the front gate to go in and out.
ARCATA (July 20, 2015) — A funny thing about baseball: Some days everything goes your way; other days nothing does.
The Crabs’ series against the Redding Colt 45s was a perfect example of all-or-nothing baseball, as the Crabs routed the visiting 45s 8-1 on Friday, July 17 and 17-1 on Saturday the 18th to push their winning streak to 10 games, then dropped Sunday’s finale 8-2 in a game that seemed destined to go Redding’s way from the start.
In the first inning, Cooper Brunner’s diving attempt to snag a sinking liner off the bat of Kyle Hoffman came up short, and the ball skipped by him for an RBI-triple. Hoffman scored on the play when the throw to third sailed out of play near the Crabs dugout, putting the home team in an early 3-0 hole.
In the second, Bobby Schuman hit what appeared to be his first homer of the season off the Pepsi ad under the scoreboard where the fence dips down, but the men in blue ruled it had bounced off the yellow piping atop the fence and hadn’t actually left the yard.
Schuman would score two batters later, but it was just one of the signs that maybe it wasn’t their day. Another came a short time later when a Crabs player shot a ball off the left field wall right around the foul pole, and was initially ruled to be fair and a double, but after a discussion was overturned, likely correctly.
In reality though, it wasn’t just the breaks on this day, at least not in the eyes of manager Tyson Fisher.
“I think that the tempo was completely different than (Saturday) night, that’s a big aspect for this team,” He said. ”We want the pace of the game to be quick, and I think that played a part (Sunday). We seemed a little lazy, it was a lazy Sunday, and offensively we just weren’t very good.”
But, he added, “it’s hard to get down on this group when we just rattled off 10 in a row. The main message is, ‘hey we gotta start a new one.’”
And he’s right. Clunkers happen, but they shouldn’t make one forget how dominant the team had been during the win streak. As alluded to earlier, the Crabs had outscored the 45s 25-2 in the first two games of the series.
On Friday night, Drew Weston did what Drew Weston has been doing all summer, twirling a complete game to complement an offense that pounded out 13 hits, seven of which came from the top three in the batting order.
Not to be outdone by Weston, Justin Mullins struck out 11 in seven innings on Saturday, allowing only a first-inning home run. And the offense outdid itself, to the tune of 17 runs on 16 hits.
Earlier in the week, the Crabs had swept a two-game series against Bercovich Baseball. On Tuesday, July 14, Humboldt put up two separate 8-spots as they set the season high-water mark for runs in a 22-8 win. Blake Edmonson hit a three-run homer and Dillon Kelley had four RBIs to lead the offense.
Edmonson homered again on Wednesday the 15th as part of a four-hit night. Brunner, Brad Pluschkell and Allen Smoot – who is currently riding a 22-game hitting streak – each delivered two hits as the Crabs won 13-4.
So obviously, there’s not a lot to be down about after one loss, given how many good things preceded it. And another 10-game winning streak would just about get them to Fisher’s preseason goal of less than 10 losses.
• Sunday's game story from the local newspaper, click here.
Humboldt Invitational Tournament: July 30-Aug 2 | The Crabs take on the Solano Mudcats, the Pacific Capitalist, and the Auburn Wildcats in a round robin tournament for bragging rights. Season passes and leftover ten strip tickets will be honored for the tournament. One ticket gets you into both games for the day. Get a Crabs stamp at the front gate to go in and out. Click here for schedule.
ARCATA (July 17) — The Humboldt Crabs are pleased to announce our Hall of Fame Class of 2015. They will be officially inducted at the game on Saturday, July 18.
Fred Papini (1945-1966) ~ Douglas Clayton (1948-1952) Billy Olsen (1967) ~ Lute Barnes (1967) Paul Ziegler (1977-1981) ~ Shane Turner (1982-1983) Scott Eskra (1995) ~ Joe Gerber (1997-1998) Nick Giacone (2003-2004)
ARCATA — As we head into the final few weeks of the Crabs season, Allen Smoot is putting together quite a case to be named the team’s 2015 Most Valuable Player.
Smoot has been solid the whole season, but lately, his numbers are just plain gaudy: From July 5 to 12, Smoot hit .720 (18-for-25) with 11 RBI, five runs and five doubles, sending his season average soaring above the .400 plateau.
“He puts a good swing on the ball,” manager Tyson Fisher said of Smoot. “He’s on time, more often than not, and when you swing the bat well it’s pretty fun as a hitter.”
And with Smoot leading the charge, the Crabs have put together a six-game win streak and sport a tidy 26-7 record.
Of course, it hasn’t been all Smoot, not even close. The Crabs are getting contributions from just about everyone during their current run. The offense has turned up the power to the tune of six homers in six games after amassing just seven in the first 27 games of the season. And the pitching is settling into a solid groove, allowing six TOTAL runs over the last 44 innings.
“There was a lot of good this weekend, all week long,” said Fisher. “The starting pitching’s been really, really good. I think that guys are starting to get their arms in shape, to where they can go deeper and deeper into ballgames.”
That run dates back to the second inning of the Crabs opener against the Alameda Merchants on Tuesday, July 7. The Merchants had scored four times in the first against Donald Robinson, but that would be all they would get in that game as Robinson and relievers Scott Parker and Tyler Bennett shut the Merchants down the rest of the way.
And the early 4-0 hole was quickly erased when Ben Petersen crushed a home run to left center with two on in the bottom of the first and Beau Bozett did the same with one on in the second. Petersen nearly hit another home run in the third but had to settle for an RBI-double off the wall. By the time the game was over, the Crabs had scored 13 unanswered runs and cruised to an easy win.
The next night, simply, was Andy Burschinger’s night. The big right-hander from Chico State spun up the team’s first complete game of the season, scattering seven hits, striking out eight and walking none in a 7-2 victory. A five-run fourth keyed by Brad Pluschkell’s first home run of the summer accounted for most of the Crabs’ offense.
On Friday, July 10, the Crabs welcomed the California Storm to town, though it may not have seemed a particularly warm welcome to the visitors. Drew Weston greeted them with seven strong innings of one-run ball. Smoot went 5-for-5, and was in the middle of every Crabs rally in a 5-1 win.
Saturday the 11th was Moustache Night, but it could have been called Offensive Fireworks Night. The Crabs hit season highs in both runs (15) and hits (22), and every starter had at least two hits in a 15-1 win. Almost lost in the outburst was another sterling start from Justin Mullins, who gave up just two hits in six innings.
On Sunday the 12th, Fisher decided to give the ball to Bennett, whose eight prior appearances all came out of the bullpen. Bennett made the move look like wise one, turning in an efficient five-inning performance. Only two Storm batters reached base, and both stalled at first.
“It was a good step for him,” said Fisher, who is starting to eye the postseason tournament as he juggles the arms at his disposal. “He wanted to go another one, but he threw 68 pitches in five innings, one-hit baseball, he did his job. He hadn’t gone that far in a long, long time.”
Bases-loaded hits by Petersen in the first and Smoot in the fourth provided most of the offense for the Crabs as they completed the sweep with a 7-2 win.
The Crabs continue down the home stretch this week with two games against Bercovich Baseball and then a weekend series against the Redding Colt 45s, against whom the Crabs took two of three in Redding last month. It's also Alumni Weekend, and they will be officially inducting the Hall of Fame Class of 2015 on Saturday before the game.
• Read Dante Geoffrey's article in the local newspaper about Sunday's game, click here.
When you’re accustomed to the cool climate of Arcata in the summer, the best thing about a long, hot road trip to Redding and Corvallis is when the bus finally rolls back across the Humboldt County line.
After dropping the last three games of their one and only trip of the season, the Crabs returned to the friendly, no-mist-fans-necessary confines of the Arcata Ball Park this past weekend to take on the Solano Mudcats, and won two of the three games.
“Baseball’s a grind,” said manager Tyson Fisher. “Especially for us, being in the climate that we’re in, to go to the heat that we saw in Redding and Corvallis…I think that for us to win this series, which is what we needed to do, it says a lot about those guys.”
Things had started well on the road, with the Crabs taking the first two of three games against the Redding Colt 45s, but perhaps due in part to the triple-digit temperatures, Humboldt committed seven errors in a 10-7 loss in the series finale.
Then, playing at the very fine home of Oregon State University baseball, the Crabs failed to hold late leads in consecutive games against the Corvallis Knights, losing 4-3 on Tuesday, June 30 and 5-4 in 14 innings on Wednesday, July 1.
Looking to get back into the groove against the Mudcats, the Crabs turned to the workhorse of the starting rotation, Drew Weston.
Weston delivered in a big way, allowing just two runs – one earned – over seven innings. Yet despite his solid numbers, Weston was not in a position to earn the “W” when he departed. The Crabs’ offense had been mostly quiet, and they trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh.
But Dillon Kelley doubled to lead off the frame, and Jesse Medrano’s attempted sacrifice turned into an infield hit, giving the Crabs runners on the corners with no outs. One batter later, Ryan Dobson singled in Kelley to tie the game. The potential go-ahead run was left stranded at third, however, and the game would stay tied till there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Dan Deely gave the team and the crowd a spark by dumping a double into left field, bringing up the Crabs’ best offensive player at the midway point – Allen Smoot. He did not disappoint, launching a ball into the night sky toward the deepest part of the ballpark. As the ball found grass in deep left-center, Deely scored and Smoot found himself mobbed by his teammates at second base.
“He’s confident in his swings, he doesn’t try and overdo things,” Fisher said of Smoot. “He’s obviously got power using the opposite field, and he uses it to his advantage.”
The next day was the Fourth of July, but the packed house of 1,347 fans didn’t get much in the way of fireworks from the home team. Yes, there was Ben Petersen’s fourth-inning freeway ball, but that was about it.
While Petersen’s shot gave the Crabs a 2-1 lead, it was a short-lived one, as the Mudcats went ahead 3-2 the next inning, and then added a couple of insurance runs on a Nick Perez homer in the eighth for a 5-2 win.
On Sunday, July 5, the Crabs’ offense finally let loose. The Mudcats jumped out to an early lead, scoring three times in the first, but the Crabs quickly erased the deficit.
After a sacrifice fly from birthday boy Bobby Schuman in the first made it 3-1, the Crabs hung up a four-spot in the second. The big blow was a three-run opposite field home run off the bat of Medrano that gave the Crabs a 5-3 lead.
Two innings later, Smoot struck again. With his long, smooth, Will Clark-esque swing, Smoot cleared a logjam on the bases, crushing a three-run double to left-center to make it 8-3, part of a four-hit day for the first baseman. Those runs turned out to be the game-winning ones in a 10-7 victory to close out the weekend.
“I was very pleased with our effort (Sunday),” said Fisher. “We kind of challenged the offense a little bit, we needed to show up after (Saturday’s) performance, and they did. Smoot had a really good day, (Brad) Pluschkell had some really good swings on some balls, Medrano put a charge into one. I thought we kind of got back to our basics of being on time for the fastball, and adjusting to the off-speed, and hitting more line drives.”
Now past the halfway point of the season, the Crabs stand at 21-7, a solid number, but not quite as glistening as the 15-1 mark they started with, and Fisher knows there’s much left to be done, and that the series against the Mudcats was a step in the right direction.
“We’ve got four weekends left,” he said. “We’ve got to tidy some things up, defensively, pitching, hitting, for us to finish the way that we want to … we need to be better in certain facets of the game, and we were this week.”
ARCATA (June 21) -- So that’s what a losing streak feels like.
After plowing through the first third of the season like a freight train – winning 15 of their first 16 games, including their series opener against the Walnut Creek Crawdads on Friday – the Humboldt Crabs’ locomotive ran out of steam, as the team dropped the final two games of the weekend.
“I think Walnut Creek did a good job of coming in here, and after Friday night when they didn’t play very well, they turned the tides on us,” said Crabs manager Tyson Fisher. “We weren’t ready to go Saturday, and Walnut Creek was.”
The Crabs had taken the opener 10-7 in a seesaw battle on Friday night thanks to contributions from up and down the lineup and another stellar outing by the bullpen – relievers Jeremiah Moore, Blake Edmonson and Austin Root combined to give up just one hit and one run in four innings.
But on Saturday, while the Crabs again got great pitching, the offense fizzled. A first inning run attributable to Beau Bozett’s speed would be all they would get against a cadre of Crawdads pitchers, who kept the Crabs just off-balance enough to keep them off the scoreboard the rest of the way in a 2-1 win.
“We didn’t swing the bats all that well on Saturday, we got some hits but we didn’t get the timely hits — and they did,” said Fisher.
It was a tough-luck Crabs debut for new arrival Justin Mullins, who allowed just the two runs in five innings but was tagged with the loss.
The offensive ineptitude continued well into Sunday, as the Crabs managed virtually nothing against starter Ethan Kenkel. By the time the Crabs finally broke a 13-inning scoring drought in the seventh, they trailed 5-0, largely on the strength of a towering three-run homer to left by the Crawdads’ Nick Oar.
And the Crabs almost worked some more of their late-inning magic. Almost.
With Kenkel out of the game and the Crawdads committing a couple of defensive blunders, the Crabs climbed to within a run at 5-4 and still had the bases loaded and one out. But Ryan Dobson grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to abruptly end the rally. They would get no closer and a five-run ninth by the Crawdads sealed the game and the series.
“Baseball’s a game of momentum, with the swings and things, that’s a huge aspect,” said Fisher. “They definitely took the momentum (on Saturday) and ran with it for the rest of the series.”
The Crabs had bounced back nicely from their first loss of the year the previous weekend. They swept a rare three-game midweek set against the Auburn Wildcats before playing the Crawdads. Coming off that first loss, they responded big time by pounding the Wildcats 13-0 in the opener, and the next night was much the same in a 9-3 decision.
The Wildcats did not go quietly in the finale however. Thursday night’s game was tied 1-1 into the ninth, and Auburn actually went ahead 2-1 in the top of the frame.
But they couldn’t close the deal, and Bobby Schuman’s bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the inning tied things at 2 and brought up another newcomer, Brad Pluschkell, who only needed a fly ball to the outfield to win it, and he delivered the win and the sweep.
Now, however, the team will need to shake off its first losing streak of the year. But Fisher is not too concerned.
“We’re still 15-3, so there’s not a whole lot to hang our heads about,” said Fisher. “But we need to get back to out-working teams.”
After a two-game set against the Watsonville Aggies, they also will need to figure out life on the road, as they head out on their only road trip of the season starting Friday, starting with a renewal of the so-called Highway 299 Rivalry against the Redding Colt 45s.
“It’s an opportunity for the guys to play in different venues, and it should be fun,” said Fisher. “It doesn’t matter if we’re at home or if we’re away, we’re always the ones with the targets, and they guys understand that, we just need to play the game hard and leave everything out there.”
You can’t win them all, but you can come darn close.
After reeling off 11 straight wins to start their season, the Humboldt Crabs finally dropped a game in their series finale against the Seattle Studs on Sunday.
“A really good start,” said Crabs manager Tyson Fisher. “I told the guys how happy and how proud I am of them for getting off to such a good start. Now’s the tough part, you’ve got to bounce back from a loss, but this group’s been resilient this entire season so far, and I have a lot of confidence that Tuesday when we get back they’ll be more hungry and ready to go.”
Resilient is right. But what’s interesting is how. With only two home runs – one an inside-the-parker – they haven’t shown a ton of power, but the pitching has been solid, especially out of the bullpen, and they seem to have the knack for the timely hit.
“We string at-bats together,” said Fisher. “We definitely can’t sit back and wait for a home run to put us ahead, we’ve got to be able to string one, two, three at-bats together, and hope for a little luck. As long as you put together good at-bats, you’re going to win more often than not.”
Coming off a perfect opening week, the Crabs welcomed the San Francisco Seals to town on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, the pitching came from starter Donald Robinson and reliever Scott Parker. Robinson, who plays at College of the Redwoods, danced in and out of trouble but didn’t yield a run in six innings, and Parker finished things of with three strong innings of relief.
The Crabs for their part only managed one run against Seals starter Nick Boyett, but got to reliever Pedro Hidalgo in the fifth. The big blow came from big Bobby Schuman, whose two-out, two-run knock made it 5-0. Schuman would drive in another run in the seventh, his fourth of the game and the final run in a 6-1 win.
The next night, the Crabs would revisit the script from opening week – late dramatics. Once again unable to do much against the Seals’ starter, they reached the seventh inning facing a 4-0 deficit.
But leadoff hitter Beau Bozett got things started with a single, and Jesse Medrano did the same. Then the Seals bullpen began issuing free passes. Three straight Crabs walked, pushing Bozett and Medrano across the plate. Schuman drove in another run on a fielder’s choice, and pinch-hitter Dillon Kelley tied the game with a sacrifice fly.
After a perfect top of the eighth by Dillon Houser, Ryan Dobson led off the bottom of the frame with a single and stole second. But neither Bozett nor Medrano could get him to third, so Allen Smoot came up in need of some two-out magic, and he delivered, singling to right to give the Crabs the lead.
Austin Root, who is making a strong case for the closer role, inherited that 5-4 lead, allowing one base runner in the ninth but also recording two strikeouts in earning his third save.
Having swept the Seals, the Crabs turned their attention to the storied Seattle Studs, who came into town with the same number of losses the Crabs had: zero.
With a combined record of 20-0, something had to give. But starter Drew Weston made sure it wasn’t the Crabs who would yield first. Weston allowed just two hits while striking out seven in seven innings.
And while Weston was compiling that line, the Crabs built a fragile 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Smoot and Dobson in the third and fourth, respectively, but it stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth. That’s when, with two on and two out, new arrival Cooper Brunner doubled just over the left fielder’s head to double the Crabs’ lead, 4-0.
The insurance runs loomed very large on the board when the Studs loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. But they would only get one run on a sacrifice fly, and Root – though this time not in a save situation – once again ended the 4-1 victory with a strikeout.
Saturday evening’s game was a classic see-saw battle. The Studs’ Mark Rockey emphatically opened the scoring with a monster blast on to Highway 101 in the second, and they added another run in the third. but Ben Petersen and Dobson were key to a pair of two-run rallies by the Crabs in the fourth and sixth as the Crabs jumped ahead 4-2.
Alas, the lead was very short-lived. Rockey led off the seventh with his second freeway ball of the evening, and that jolted the Studs’ offense to life in a four-run, six-hit inning as they re-took the lead, one which they would take into the bottom of the ninth.
But as they’ve managed to do so often on the young season, the Crabs refused to die. Smoot singled, Kelley was hit by a pitch, and Schuman walked, and suddenly the bases were loaded. After a pitching changed, Nick Spini made it 5-4 with a fielder’s choice, and Petersen followed with a game-tying single.
Medrano looked to play the walkoff hero, but his line drive toward left was snagged by the third baseman and Petersen was caught too far off first for a double play that sent the game into extras.
Lucas Halstead came up with two on and two out in the bottom of the tenth, looking to send everyone home, but he popped one up on the infield and threw his bat away in disgust, thinking he had failed. But nighttime popups at the Arcata Ball Park can be tricky, and the ball eluded the glove Rockey at first base. Dobson, who had been 180 feet from home at the start of the play, shifted gears and charged home, arriving just before the throw.
The comeback well finally ran dry however under the Sunday afternoon sun. The Studs came roaring out of the gate, getting a three-run freeway bomb from Dylan LaVelle before the Crabs recorded an out. The Crabs never really recovered and lost the series finale 6-3.
Still, taking a series against the Studs was an impressive feat. This week will present another test, with six games in six days from Tuesday to Sunday, against the Auburn Wildcats and Walnut Creek Crawdads.
ARCATA (June 7, 2015) – Cardiac Crabs has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
The Crabs finished the second weekend of their season with a perfect 7-0 record, thanks largely to their ability to come through in the clutch when trailing late. In three of their five wins last week, the Crabs trailed heading into the bottom of the eighth, only to rally with multiple runs to pull out the victory.
Quite an accomplishment for a group of guys who haven’t even known each other two weeks.
“I think it says a lot about the programs they come from, to begin with,” said Manager Tyson Fisher. “The groundwork for us has been laid, and I think that’s huge. These guys, sometimes they jell a lot earlier than expected and this is one of those groups. They come out and work hard every day – they beat the coaches to the ballpark – you can’t say enough about a group like that.”
On Tuesday against former Crab Alex Crosby and the Novato Knicks, Humboldt was down 5-4 when Ryan Dobson reached on an error, stole second and scored on a double by Allen Smoot. Smoot moved to third on a single by Jesse Medrano, and scored on a fielder’s choice by Beau Bozett to give the Crabs the lead for good. Bozett came in on a double by Dillon Kelley for the game’s final run in a 7-5 win.
After completing a two-game sweep the next night with a 4-2 victory the next night, the Crabs again found themselves trailing late in their opener against the California Expos, this time by a 3-1 score. Expos starter Hilario Tovar had suffocated the home team’s offense for six innings and left in a position to pick up the ‘W.’
But against reliever Tanner Irwin in the eighth, the Crabs’ bats finally work up. Medrano and Bozett both singled, and Dan Deely reached safely trying to sacrifice them along. Medrano scored the first run of the inning on a double play, but that left just one runner on base. However, Irwin couldn’t close out the inning, walking the next two Crabs batters to load the bases for big Bobby Schuman.
Schuman made Irwin pay for his lack of control, ripping a double just over the Expos’ right fielder, and just like that the Crabs led for the first time in the game. Austin Root came in for the ninth and was perfect to earn the save in a 4-3 win.
The next night was nearly a carbon copy. The Expos scored two unearned runs in the first while some fans were still looking for their seats, and added another in the third for a quick 3-0 lead. The Crabs got one back in the bottom of the third, but that was all the scoring in the game until, you guessed it, the bottom of the eighth.
Smoot led off the frame with a double, and would eventually score on an error that extended the inning. That error would be the Expos’ undoing. One batter later, with the bases loaded, Deely singled in the tying and go-ahead run. Kelley followed that up with a two-run knock of his own for a 6-3 lead. A potential seventh run was denied when Kelley was thrown out at home trying to score on a double by Blake Edmonson. Root pitched the ninth for his second straight save.
Perhaps tired of the dramatics, the Crabs jumped out to a big lead in Sunday’s series finale, scoring seven times in the second, but saw their lead immediately trimmed to 7-5 the very next half inning. The Expos closed the gap to just one run in the fourth, but that was as close as they would get, as Smoot doubled in two runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The Crabs bullpen, which has been stellar so far this season, shut the Expos down the rest of the way, combining for 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball.
“We had to use the bullpen a little bit more than we wanted to (on Sunday),” said Fisher. “Bursch (Andy Burschinger) got off to a pretty good start and then had that rough inning there, but the bullpen did a good job, like they’ve done all year, throwing strikes and pitching to contact, and let the defense make some plays behind them.”
After a day off Monday, the Crabs are back in action Tuesday and Wednesday against Seals Baseball, and then welcome in the Seattle Studs over the weekend.