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Archived news by year: 2009

It's Crab Season - In More Ways Than One

Crab SeasonARCATA (Dec. 6, 2009) — December marks the beginning of Crab season — in more ways than one. And you can celebrate even if you don’t like seafood.

That’s because tickets for the Humboldt Crabs 2010 baseball season are now on sale. Season passes and 10-strips of single-game tickets are now on sale. And through the end of December, the season passes are only $76.50, a 10 percent discount from the normal price of $85.

The tickets can be purchased at Ray’s Food Place locations in Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville and Fortuna, the Eureka and Arcata Chambers of Commerce, Solo Sports in Arcata and the Times-Standard. They will also be available soon at Blue Lake Casino.

You can also purchase tickets from the Crabs directly, by downloading this form. For more Crabs ticket information, click here.

The 66th season of Crabs baseball begins on Saturday, June 5 against the Fairfield Indians. The annual season-opening dinner is scheduled for Friday, June 4 at the Arcata Community Center. Check out the complete 2010 schedule!

And the Postseason Awards Go To...

Award WinnersARCATA (Aug. 9, 2009) — With the 2009 season in the books, it's time to give out the traditional postseason awards. And for an impressive third straight season, Jeff Giacomini was named the team MVP after leading the team with six home runs and a cool 50 RBIs. He also batted .303 and his 56 hits were second on the team. Joining Giacomini on the honor roll are:

John Austin and Scott Heinig — Co-Pitchers of the Year
In 10 appearances, including nine starts, Austin went 8-1 with a 2.11 ERA. Heinig proved very versatile, starting four games but also providing solid relief when needed, compiling an 0.94 ERA along the way. The two finished tied for the team lead with 58 strikeouts apiece.

Eric Draxton — Closer of the Year
Draxton was the anchor of a solid bullpen, racking up 10 saves and posting an impressive 0.82 ERA in a team-leading 18 appearances.

Nick Melino — Offensive Player of the Year
Melino, the only switch hitter in the lineup, hit .318, and his 40 RBIs were second on the team to Giacomini. His four home runs and 11 doubles were also tied for the second-most on the team.

Isaac Vivas — Defensive Player of the Year
Vivas was a veritable vacuum at short, and turned in one of the most incredible plays ever seen at the Arcata Ball Park — sort of. On Aug. 1 against the Southern Oregon River Dawgs, Vivas ranged deep into the hole to snag a grounder and flipped it from the outfield grass all in one motion, apparently getting the Dawgs' Aaron Hassel by a step. Hassel was called safe, prompting loud protests from the crowd, but not taking away from the spectacle they had just witnessed.

Karson Klauer — Coaches' Award
The ever-humble Klauer started the season at the top of the order and on fire, but didn't complain when a slump dropped him to the nine spot for awhile. Whatever it was the team needed done, he was happy to do it.

Crabs Manager Matt Nutter also made sure to extend a special thank you to Bobby Ethel for three great seasons of service to the team. Ethel's third year got off to a rough start — literally — when he broke his nose the day before the first game moving equipment on the field. But he was undeterred and once again became an integral part of the team.

Tell It Goodbye: Season 65 Comes to a Close

Tommy PavesiARCATA (Aug. 9, 2009) — They say all good things come to an end, and apparently, even baseball is not immune to the old adage. But if the 65th season of Humboldt Crabs baseball had end, this was the perfect way to bring it all to a close. The Crabs capped a wildly successful season and weekend by pounding the Morgan Hill Mudcats 15-0 on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep and finishing the campaign with a stellar 48-11 record.

After a pair of close wins on Saturday, the Crabs left no doubt on Sunday, jumping on the Mudcats early. Thanks in part to the 23rd and final home run of the season — courtesy of Tommy Pavesi — the Crabs led 5-0 after three innings and never looked back, allowing the crowd of 1,062 to relax and enjoy $1 hot dogs and free beer on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the Ball Park. (The stuff wasn't going to keep till next season and we sure didn't want it to go to waste!)

A successful conclusion on the baseball field was only fitting, because the 2009 season was also a massive success — our most successful year ever, in fact — at the box office. On the final Friday of the season, the Crabs shattered both their season and single-game attendance records when a standing room only crowd of 1,622 crammed into the Arcata Ball Park to watch the team take on their local rivals, the Humboldt Steelheads. The 93rd of those 1,622 fans was Megan Hyer of Eureka, who set the new record as the 30,407th fan to pass through the gate in 2009. All told, the Crabs drew 34,048 fans to the Ball Park this season, and all we can say is "Thank you!" to every single one of you who made Season 65 so special.

Wilhite Recovering with Help from Major League Pal

Jon WilhiteARCATA (July 25, 2009) — Former Crab Jon Wilhite, who was severely injured in the April crash that killed Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others, showed the world just how far he has come in his recovery — by throwing out the first pitch before the A's/Angels game in Oakland on Saturday.

As Susan Slusser writes in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle, that Wilhite is even alive today is a miracle. In the crash, Wilhite's skull became detached from his spinal column, a condition only 5 percent of victims survive long enough to make it to a hospital.

But, thanks to a fighting spirit — and some help from a couple of friends on the A's — Wilhite was walking and talking two months after the crash.

"Being an athlete, you have to be pretty stubborn, and I try to get better every day," Wilhite told the Chronicle. "I use it as motivation when doctors say something I don't believe."

A's catcher Kurt Suzuki, who was a teammate of Wilhite's at Cal State Fullerton, rallied to his friend's aid. Enlisting the help of Orlando Cabrera and both of their wives, Suzuki has raised over $50,000 — including $18,000 at Saturday's game — to help pay for Wilhite's rehabilitation costs. Fittingly, Suzuki was the catcher for Wilhite's pitch.

Wilhite played catcher for the Crabs in 2004 after his redshirt year at Cal State Fullerton. Video of Wilhite throwing out the first pitch can be seen here.

A Sunday Afternoon Walk To Victory

Greg FisherARCATA (July 19, 2009) — On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Arcata, Nick Melino went for a walk. In so doing, he drove in the only run in a 1-0 victory that gave the Crabs a series sweep of the Bay-Cal Yankees.

Melino's bases-loaded base on balls in the bottom of the ninth inning forced in Isaac Vivas to break a scoreless tie and send the Arcata Ball Park crowd home happy with a four-game sweep.

The Crabs' Greg Fisher and fellow southpaw, the Yankees' Rob Enriquez, both baffled opponents, throwing up zero after zero. Fisher struck out six of the first seven Yankees he faced, and allowed just two hits while striking out 12 and walking one in 7 innings.

The Crabs now head off on the road for the first time in 2009, up to Medford for a WCL Tri-State twinbill against the Southern Oregon RiverDawgs. Humboldt (7-3 in league) holds a slim half-game lead over the Folsom Pioneers (9-6), while the RiverDawgs are three games back at 5-7.

And speaking of the Pioneers, they cruise into Arcata on Wednesday to greet the Crabs as they return from Medford. The Crabs and Pioneers will play six league games from Wednesday to Sunday — 5:30 p.m. doubleheaders Wednesday and Saturday, and single games Friday night at 7 and Sunday afternoon at 12:30. With eight league games in six days, the Crabs could put some distance between themselves and the pack as they hit the home stretch.

Pleaes note: Given that they are playing six league games against the Crabs this week, the Pioneers will not be playing the Humboldt Steelheads on Thursday at the Arcata Ball Park as planned. The Steelies will still be at the Ball Park, taking on the Eel River Eels at 7 p.m. Come on out and see some great local players in action!

A Grand Entrance: Crabs Surge Into League Play

38 Scott Heinig PARCATA (JUly 6, 2009) — The Crabs wasted no time announcing their presence in the WCL Tri-State.

Nick Melino's second-inning grand slam in Humboldt's league opener set the tone for a dominating weekend, as the Crabs took five of six from the Nevada Bighorns in their first WCL Tri-State series.

Dropping only Saturday afternoon's contest, the Crabs now sit atop the league standings, a game clear of the Folsom Pioneers (7-5). Check out the league website for complete standings, stats and schedules.

Melino's slam propelled Humboldt to a 10-6 win in Wednesday's opener. For an encore, the Crabs rallied with 7 runs in the sixth inning to win the nightcap 13-8.

On Friday night, John Austin threw six scoreless innings and Jeff Giacomini went 3-for-5 with a home run to lead the team to a 12-2 win.

After dropping the first game on Independence Day 2-1, the Crabs bounced back to win the evening game 3-2 in extra innings. Then on Sunday, Gene Escat threw six hitless innings as Humboldt closed out the series with an 8-2 win.

Melino was one of five Crabs who hit .400 or better for the series. Joining him were Logan Lotti, Brandon Hayes, Nick Leid and Brad Morgan, who led all Crabs with a .545 average (6-for-11). Austin, Escat and Chris DeBoo each threw six innings of shutout ball — DeBoo's over the course of two relief appearances.

The Crabs take a brief break from WCL Tri-State play Wednesday as they welcome the El Dorado Hills Vipers to Arcata for a doubleheader at 5:30 p.m., then resume league play Friday when the Redding Colt .45s (2-5 in league) come to town.

Crabs to Make WCL Tri-State Debut

ARCATA (June 30, 2009) — A new era in Humboldt Crabs baseball begins Wednesday evening when the team plays its first games in a new league, the WCL Tri-State, a doubleheader against the Nevada Bighorns.

The Crabs and Bighorns are two of the five teams in the WCL Tri-State, a new offshoot of the West Coast League in the Pacific Northwest. The other teams are the Redding Colt 45s, the Folsom Pioneers and Southern Oregon Riverdogs.

Humboldt is the only team that has yet to play a league game. Folsom is in first place so far with a 7-5 league record, the Riverdogs and Bighorns are each 3-3 and Redding is 2-4. But the Crabs and Bighorns will play six over the next five days. And while they will all be at the Arcata Ball Park, the Bighorns will be the "home" team for Wednesday's doubleheader and Sunday's contest.

Throughout the league season, keep track of stats and standings at the league's website. A WCL Tri-State sidebar can be found on the left side of just about any page on the Crabs website as well.

***Please Note*** The pocket schedule incorrectly states that there is a doubleheader on Friday, July 3. There is only one game Friday, beginning at 7 p.m. as usual.

Walk-off Wednesday: Crabs Sweep Seals

ARCATA (June 24, 2009) — There's only one thing better than watching your team win a game with a walk-off home run: watching your team win two games on walk-offs to sweep a doubleheader.

That's what the crowd at the Arcata Ball Park witnessed Wednesday night, or at least the few hundred die hards who were around to see Jeff Giacomini's 8th-inning blast finish off the second of two wins over the Sonoma Seals. Giacomini's freeway ball produced a 7-5 win and came hours after Brandon Hayes had launched a three-run shot to right-center gave the Crabs an 8-5 victory in the opener.

If not for a stubborn refusal to lie down by the Seals, Giacomini's heroics would not have been necessary. The Crabs led 5-1 heading into what should have been the final inning, and Travis McCracken quickly fanned the first two Seals batters, but a two-out walk ignited a four-run rally that tied the game, forcing extra innings and setting the stage for Giacomini's second homer of the season.

In the first game, it was the Crabs who had to play catch-up, despite receiving a towering home run from Tommy Pavesi in the first inning that landed on City Hall. A four-run fifth gave Sonoma a 5-2 lead, but the Crabs wasted no time in bouncing back. Bobby Ethel led off the bottom of the frame with a single and eventually scored on a passed ball. Logan Lotti hit an RBI-single and after some smart baserunning put him on third, scored on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Silvett to tie the game at 5.

Lotti started the seventh-inning rally as well, singling with one out. Silvett was intentionally walked, but Hayes punished the Seals by roping one out to the left of the scoreboard.

The Crabs have now won nine straight and stand at a solid 14-2. They begin a weekend series with the California Glory Friday night at 7 p.m.

Not Bad For Openers: Crabs Sweep Indians

Crusty CrabARCATA (June 7, 2009) — Any way you slice it, the opening weekend of the Humboldt Crabs' 65th season was a smashing success! The team is off to a perfect 3-0 start, completing the sweep of traditional opening weekend rivals the Fairfield Indians with a thrilling, extra innings, come-from-behind victory in Sunday's series finale.

The sweep was not secure until Beck Wheeler's pinch-hit, bases-loaded single plated Kevin Silvett in the bottom of the 10th inning capped a 7-6 victory. The Crabs had trailed 6-3 after six innings, but they clawed their way back, scoring single runs in each of the last four innings while Travis McCracken came out of the pen to slam the door on the Indians, throwing four shutout innings to earn the win.

In Saturday's opener, Nick Melino cracked the first home run of 2009 in the third inning, sparking a three-run rally that would be enough support for Tyler Graham in a 4-2 win.

Melino also made the crowd gasp in awe in the fourth inning of the nightcap — a 13-1 mercy-rule win in which six different Crabs had two or more hits — when he roped a ball onto the roof of City Hall a few feet foul.

Up next for the Crabs is a Wednesday night game against their hometown rivals, the Humboldt Steelheads, followed by a weekend series against Fontanetti's Athletics. That series will follow the standard schedule: a single game Friday at 7 p.m., a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 5:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 12:30 p.m.

Awards Aplenty For Crabs Players

Crusty CrabSeveral players on the 2009 Humboldt Crabs roster have been honored with postseason awards for their accomplishments at their respective colleges — and one even claimed the California State Community College Championship.

Beck Wheeler was the starting shortstop as Orange Coast College won the state junior college title, beating Delta College for the championship. Delta also has a Crabs connection: assistant coach Matt Wilson. Wheeler, who hit .345 for the year, was also First Team All-Orange Empire and named to the All-Southern California JC Team.

Other Crabs who were honored are:

  • John Austin (LHP, College of San Mateo) — First Team All-Golden Gate Conference
  • Bobby Ethel (OF, Univ. of San Francisco) — Honorable Mention All-West Coast Conference
  • Karson Klauer (IF, San Jose State) — ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VII
  • Nick Melino (OF/DH, Univ. of Nevada-Reno) — First Team All-Western Athletic Conference
  • Kevin Silvett (C, Grossmont College) — First Team All-Pacific Coast Conference
  • Dakota Watts (RHP, Cal State Stanislaus) — Second Team All-California Collegiate Athletic Conference.