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Archived news by year: 2013

Got Crabs (Gifts)

Crabs fan, this Friday's Arts! Arcata will be your first opportunity to purchase season tickets for 2014, our 70th season! Come out to the Jacoby Storehouse from 6-9 p.m. and see us.

We'll also be selling hats and other gear to help you check off just about everyone on your Christmas shopping list. And speaking of Christmas, Santa will be there for the kids, and so will Crusty and several Crabs alumni.

Arts! Arcata is Arcata Mainstreet's monthly community art event, and many local businesses participate, serving wine and beer to raise money for local nonprofits. Click here to learn more.

Passing the Torch

The Crabs announce the 2014 board of directors, which includes the first female and youngest board president

ARCATA — The Humboldt Crabs, which began in 1945, are the longest continuously-operated summer collegiate baseball program in the United States. Vikki Rossi of McKinleyville was elected the Crabs first female board president on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at the annual board retreat. Rossi is an HSU alumna and works at Sun Valley Floral Farms as a credit and collections manager. She is also the youngest board president in the organization’s history.

Rossi was recruited in August of 2011 by her good friend Stephanie Lane who stepped down from the board to pursue her new position as the Assistant Athletic Director at HSU. Rossi and Lane — both longtime Crabs fans — are known to sit on the first base line. Rossi is perhaps most widely known for cheering on the Crabs with her wooden claves.

Rossi is not only a Crabs fan, she also grew up in a baseball-loving family in the Bay Area. As a kid, the Rossi family spent a lot of time at both S.F. Giants and Oakland Athletics games.

Rossi was reluctant to join the board of directors at first, only because she was concerned she’d miss watching the games. “I denied the opportunity for an entire year. Upon the second request, I had so much love for Crabs baseball, that there was just no way I could turn down such an enormous opportunity,” Rossi said. “In my time volunteering on the board, I have witnessed teamwork like never before,” she added.

Rossi’s main assignments for the board are to head up the Crabs Alumni and Hall of Fame committees. Rossi is in charge of a large Crabs alumni database and her main focus is to find and make contact with anyone who has ever worn a Crabs uniform. She also instituted a lifetime alumni season pass for all Crabs players. Rossi’s alumni weekend celebration will be held on the Fourth of July weekend in 2014.

“The Crabs have given me a reason to memorize baseball stats again and I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a great organization. Humboldt County is my home, but baseball in Humboldt County is where my heart is,” Rossi said.

Passion is the word most commonly used by the 13 community members who make up the 2014 Humboldt Crabs Board of Directors when describing why they serve. What other reason would a group of individuals who have no real connection to one another — other than love of baseball — voluntarily give up hundreds of hours of their time, year-round for no pay? The board of directors consider themselves to just be a group of high-ranking volunteers who ultimately work for the community of Crabs fans.

Upon seeing a board member in line at the concession stand at the Arcata ballpark, fans often ask, “Do you have to stand in line like all of us?” The answer is yes, there’s no special treatment for board members. Board members buy their Crabs sweatshirts, hot dogs and beer just like everybody else. The funds that are raised each summer at the ballpark go into a savings account that supports the following summer’s baseball season and team.

As the Crabs enter their 70th continuous season of baseball, it is a good time to review how the Crabs actually function. The team belongs to and is literally owned by the community. The board recognizes they are merely stewards of this historic organization. The board, in turn, takes its responsibility very seriously to maintain and advance the traditions and history of the program. Without the annual financial support of the community, the Crabs would literally cease to exist.

The Crabs program is reviewed annually at a full-day retreat each November. At the retreat, officers are elected and each board member is assigned and responsible for one or more major tasks. Board meetings are held twice a month and year-round. The board of directors prides itself as being a working board, i.e., each member works continuously on projects throughout the year to ensure the survival of the program.
 

Thrice is Extra Nice

The Crabs pulled off three straight wins on Sunday to earn their third straight Far West League Championship

ARCATA (Aug 2013) — The Humboldt Crabs claimed their third straight Far West League Championship on Sunday, in very much the same way they won their first.

Just as they had in 2011, the Crabs dropped into the loser's bracket in the tournament's opening day, and so were faced with the task of winning three straight games on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. And just as they had in 2011, they pulled off the hat trick, first defeating the Menlo Park Legends — the team that had beaten them on Friday — 5-2, then posting 16-8 and 8-6 wins against the team that fought them to the wire during the regular season, Top Speed Baseball.

After the last out had been recorded, the Crustaceans streamed out of the dugout and mobbed Ruben Rios, the Fortuna product who pitched 4 1/3 of outstanding relief in the nightcap and allowed the Crabs to crawl out of an early 5-1 hole.

Actually, crawl isn't the right word, they sprung out of that hole in the sixth, as six straight batters reached base, and five of them scored. The key hits came in the form of Kyle Moses' double and Jeffrey Hendrix's single, both of which plated two runs.

Top Speed tied the game in the seventh, but Clay Cederquist untied it with a two-run single in the eighth. That provided the winning margin, but it nearly wasn't enough as the Arcata Ball Park faithful had to survive one last scare in the ninth. With two on and two out, Cody Demera jolted a ball down the left-field line that bounced on the top of the fence and onto the freeway — about ten feet foul.

In the previous game against Top Speed, the Crabs used a pair of big innings to force the winner-take-all game, scoring seven runs in the fourth and six in the eighth. Jeremie Fagnan had four RBIs and Cederquist and Clay Olson each had three. And Sergio Sanchez, back after serving a one-game suspension earlier in the day, went 2-for-4 and scored twice.

The first game of the day belonged to Crabs starter Johnny Melero. He threw a complete game, allowing just two runs and seven hits. Staked to an early 5-0 lead, he kept the Legends at bay, and just as importantly, allowed his bullpen to save its valuable arms for later in the day.

Postseason Awards

With the team still giddy from celebrating their three peat, Manager Matt Nutter brought out the end-of-year awards. The Pitcher of the Year was a no-brainer: Chad Hodges, who went a perfect 7-0 on the year, including a big performance with the season on the line on Saturday. The Co-Offensive Players of the Year were the duo that powered the heart of the order all summer, Olson and Sanchez. Shortstop Trent Goodrich received the Defensive Player of the Year honor. Zack McCoy received the Kevin Morsching/Scott Heinig Coach's Award. And Moses, who was everything the Crabs could hope for in a leadoff man, was named the team Most Valuable Player.

Crabs Stay Alive, Top Speed in Control

There was drama of just about every kind at the Arcata Ballpark on Saturday — a walkoff win, a late rally that came up just short, and even a bench-clearing almost-brawl.

When the day was final over, Top Speed Baseball sat in in the driver's seat of the Far West Championship as the sole team left without a loss, and the Humboldt Crabs had extended their season to by at least one more game, surviving both a late push by the California Warriors, and a little pushing and shoving after tempers flared in the sixth inning.

Looking to shake off Friday's loss to the Menlo Park Legends, the Crabs burst out of the gate against the Warriors, reeling off three straight run-scoring singles in the first inning and another in the second for an early four-run lead.

The Warriors had pulled two within two runs against Crabs ace Chad Hodges, but Nick Minteer helped make sure Hodges ended the season a perfect 7-0 when he doubled one on and two out in the fifth, scoring Clay Cederquist and Trent Goodrich to restore the four-run lead.

Things got a bit heated in the sixth, when the Warriors' Michael Peterson threw two pitches to the backstop against Sergio Sanchez. Sanchez glared at Peterson after the second offering, and when Peterson's next pitch plunked Sanchez, Sanchez flung his bat toward the mound. Both benches quickly cleared, but nothing really came of the ruckus.

The Warriors chased Hodges in the eighth, and managed to score two more runs against reliever Thomas Cortese, but Cortese settled down and locked down the 6-4 win.

In the early game, the Legends held a 2-0 lead in the sixth against Top Speed, but that lead was quickly and loudly erased by Tyler Mautner, who absolutely crushed a ball on to Highway 101 with a man on. That score held until the ninth inning, when Top Speed leadoff man Bo Walter drew a two-out walk, then scampered around the bases on a double down the left-field line by Matt Owen, sliding head-first across the plate just ahead of the throw home.

The Crabs and Legends will open Sunday's action at 10 a.m., with the winner advancing to face the waiting Top Speed squad. Top Speed has a big advantage, with their opponent having to beat them twice to win the title.

Crabs Fall, Face Warriors Saturday

Costly defensive miscues and a lack of clutch hitting sent the top-seeded Humboldt Crabs into the loser's bracket on the opening day of the Far West League Championship tournament on Friday.

A first-inning throwing error by Trent Goodrich allowed the Menlo Park Legends' Dane Vande Guchte to score an unearned run for a 1-0 lead. Then, with the score tied 1-1 in the eighth, bobbled grounders by both Goodrich and Cullen Hendrickson gave the Legends another unearned run, enough for a 2-1 victory.

The Crabs outhit the Legends 8-5, but they couldn't get the big hit at the right moment against Andrew Herrera, who wasn't overpowering, but kept the Crabs' hitters off-balance all night, consistently closing the door on Crabs' threats. As a result, Drew Bradshaw's solid outing went for naught.

The Crabs will look to stay alive tonight at 7:30 against the California Warriors, who dropped the tournament opener 8-6 against Top Speed Baseball. Top Speed built an early 4-0 lead, stretched it to 8-2 in the seventh, and then survived a four-run rally in the Warriors' ninth that saw the tying run stranded at second base.

By virtue of their opening victories, the Legends and Top Speed will face off in the winner's bracket game today at 3:00. The winner will advance to the championship on Sunday at 1:30 p.m., and the loser will play the winner of tonight's Crabs-Warriors game Sunday at 10 a.m. The Crabs-Warriors loser will be eliminated.

The Brackets Are Set!

A hazy Far West League playoff picture crystallized on Saturday and Sunday, with the Crabs emerging as the regular-season champion and No. 1 seed.

But they needed some help from the team they just played, Seals Baseball. And the Seals obliged, as their 11-0 victory in the first game of a doubleheader against Top Speed Baseball gave the the top spot by virtue of a tie-breaker, as the Crabs took three-of-four against Top Speed during the season.

The Crabs will open their FWL title defense Friday night at 7:30 p.m. against the fourth-seeded Menlo Park Legends. The Legends secured their spot by beating the Neptune Beach Pearl on Sunday.

Top Speed will face the third seed, the California Warriors, in the tournament opener at 3 p.m. Friday. For a full tournament schedule, download a PDF of the bracket.

Tickets for the FWL Tournament will only be sold at the Arcata Ball Park beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday. A day pass is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and youth, and gets you into all games on that day. It will be possible to purchase passes for Saturday and Sunday in advance. Please note that as this is a league event, Humboldt Crabs season passes, 10-strips, and single-game tickets are not valid for the tournament.

Lights Out — Literally and Figuratively

 

The term "lights out" is often used in baseball to describe an outing like the one Cameron Law had in the first game of a doubleheader against the Auburn Wildcats on Wednesday. But rarely does the phrase apply literally in a game, as it did at the end of a thrilling comeback win for the Humboldt Crabs in the nightcap.

After rallying from down 5-2 to tie the game in the seventh, the Crabs headed into the bottom of the ninth looking to end things, as the clock was quickly approaching 11:00. Trent Goodrich did so, driving in Sergio Sanchez with the winning run, and at the moment Sanchez crossed the plate, the Arcata Ball Park went dark — the victim of an automated shutoff system

Goodrich's two-out knock completed an impressive comeback after a pair of Auburn home runs had put the Crabs in an early hole. They climbed out of that hole in the seventh with a pair of doubles by Kyle Moses and Caleb Wood, tying the game when consecutive fly-outs by Sanchez and Cameron Olsen brought Wood around to score. Things would stay that way — thanks in part to winning pitcher Leland Tilley — until exactly 11:00, when the Crabs turned out the lights on the series.

Six hours earlier, Law had taken the mound and dominated the Wildcats. He allowed just three hits in seven innings while striking out nine.

The Crabs had taken an early lead on two straight RBI-groundouts by Olson and Clay Cederquist. They added another run in the second and two in the fourth, and let Law Cruise. When his night was over, Toby Woods and Nick Mikkelson completed the 5-0 shutout.

The regular season wraps up this weekend with a four-game Far West League series against the California Seals. The Far West League All-Star Game is Tuesday in Marysville, and the campaign wraps up with the FWL Tournament in Arcata next Friday through Sunday.

 

Trending Up

ARCATA (July 15) — Looks like a trend is developing here. And that ain't a bad thing.

This weekend, for the third consecutive series in Far West League play, the Crabs dropped the series opener, then pulled off three straight wins. And with a 9-3 record over the past 12 games — all league contests — the Crabs now have a 1 1/2-game lead atop the FWL standings.

First came Top Speed Baseball, then there were the California Warriors, and most recently it was the Walnut Creek Crawdads, who won Friday night's contest 4-3, before being swept 9-2 and 6-1 in a Saturday doubleheader and then losing 6-4 in Sunday's finale.

The Crabs might have had a sweep if not for four errors on Friday that fed the Crawdads' side of the scoreboard some runs they didn't earn. But after falling behind in the opening frame of Saturday's first game, the Crabs got the adrenaline shot they needed when Sergio Sanchez reached down and clubbed a two-run freeway ball to even the score at 2.

Sanchez put the Crabs ahead 3-2 in the third with an RBI-double that might have been hit harder than the home run. Humboldt added another run in the fifth, then hung up a crooked number in the sixth, plating four runs to go up 8-2. Caleb Wood had the big blow, a bases-loaded knock that produced three runs, thanks in part to a Crawdads error.

On the mound, Chad Hodges was extremely efficient, kept his pitch count low, and went the distance to improve his perfect record to 6-0.

In the nightcap, Cullen Hendrickson and Cameron Olson homered, and Jeffrey Hendrix, Zack McCoy, and Wood each had two hits. Johnny Melero made sure the bullpen could take the entire day off, as he went all seven innings in the shorter game, scattering nine hits and allowing only an unearned run.

On Sunday, the Crawdads did all they could to break the trend, rallying with two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth. But McCoy and Hendrickson hit back-to-back two-out doubles in the home half of the inning to produce the final margin of victory.

The Crabs hit the road this week for their only trip of the year. They'll be in Klamath Falls on Wednesday and Thursday for a brief respite from league play, before continuing on to Redding to play the Colt .45s over the weekend. As was the case when the .45s came to Arcata, Sunday's game is not a league contest. The boys return home on July 24 for the final week of the regular season.

 

Olson's Wood and Wood's Leather

Teammates mob Caleb Wood after his diving grab saved an 8-7 victory on Sunday.

ARCATA (July 7) — For a split second off the crack of the bat, it looked like the Humboldt Crabs' ninth inning lead was gone. But with a flash of the leather, Caleb Wood saved the lead, the game, a 3-1 series victory over visiting Top Speed Baseball, and first place in the Far West League.

The Crabs had led Sunday's series finale 8-5 entering the ninth, but after getting a quick first out, Crabs reliever Jacob Coats ran into trouble. First came Jayce Ray's home run, followed by a rally that saw Top Speed score again and load the bases for Matt Owen.

Owen smacked a 2-2 pitch hard up the middle for what looked like a go-ahead, two-run single, but the second baseman Wood leapt to his right, and with full extension, caught the ball mid-air. Then, seemingly in slow motion, he looked up from the ground to see Trent Goodrich standing over him at second, waiting for Wood to toss him the ball for the game-ending double-play.

The sudden end sent a shockwave through the Crabs and the fans, all of whom collectively paused for a brief moment of "Did I really just see that?!?" and then the Arcata Ball Park went wild, celebrating an 8-7 win, the Crabs' third in four games against Top Speed.

The game had been a battle, with the Crabs leading most of the way but never comfortably. Jeremie Fagnan drove in runs with a  groundout, a double, and a sac fly, and Nick Minteer, Kyle Moses, Clay Cederquist, Goodrich and Wood all had multi-hit games. Meanwhile, Steven Thompson (2-0) ground his way through five innings of work to earn the win before giving way to the bullpen.

The weekend hadn't gotten off to such a happy start for the home team, as four errors contributed to a 4-3 Crabs loss on Friday night, despite a pair of opposite field home runs, a two-run shot by Sergio Sanchez in the third, and a solo job from Chris Akmon in the sixth.


Cameron Olson's three home runs provided nearly all the Crabs' offense on Saturday.

The Crabs rebounded on Saturday, which was owned by Cameron Olson. He homered three times in two games, driving in five of the Crabs six runs in a 6-2 win in the first game, and then the only run of a 1-0 victory in the nightcap.

Olson's offensive outburst supported outstanding performances by two Crabs pitchers, Chad Hodges and Johnny Melero. Hodges, who is quietly showing himself to be possibly the Crabs' most reliable starter this season,  improved to 5-0 on the year with 7 2/3 innings in the opener. Melero followed that up with the 7-inning complete game shutout in the second contest.

Melero's night nearly went down in flames in the sixth, but a pair of nice plays by third baseman Tyler Shannon preserved the Crabs' slim lead. Top Speed had loaded the bases with no outs, But Shannon snagged Neal Jacobs' high chopper and threw home for out number one. The relay to first was not in time, but the next batter, Alex Sortwell, also hit the ball to Shannon. Again Shannon went home, but this time Peter Miller's throw to first just beat Sortwell, ending the inning with no damage done.

Winning the series means the Crabs escape with a half-game lead over Top Speed as the teams jockey for seeding in the FWL tournament. The Crabs will look to stay on top as they welcome the California Warriors to town this week for a rare four-game midweek set from Tuesday to Thursday. The Warriors are one of several teams in a logjam in the middle of the FWL standings, and will be fighting hard to stay afloat. They just took two of three from the Neptune Beach Pearl, though one of the wins didn't count in the league standings.

Tuesday and Thursday's games are at 7 p.m.; Wednesday's doubleheader starts at 5:30. Wednesday is Save Second Base Night, a special night to honor breast cancer research and awareness. Thursday is our annual Cleats for Kids Night, so gather up any old baseball equipment to donate to this great cause!

Fireworks Come Early, Not Late

ARCATA (July 5) — The Crabs bucked holiday tradition, setting off a few fireworks on the Third of July, but not saving any for the Fourth, as they took the first two games against the Solano Mudcats the week before quietly falling 2-1 in the series finale.

The Crabs took a 1-0 lead early on the Fourth, in front of a packed house of 1,469 fans on a warm, sunny, very un-Humboldt type of day. But they missed a chance to make it 2-0 as Peter Miller was gunned down at home one batter before Tyler Shannon drove in Zack McCoy.

But that's all the Crabs would get against the Mucats' starter Anthony Pezzola and closer Andy Amaro. Solano would tie it up in the sixth and take a narrow 2-1 lead in the eighth, but the margin proved enough to win. Brian Bynum took a rough loss, giving up only the two runs in 7 1/3 innings.

The Crabs had taken both ends of a Wednesday doubleheader by identical 4-0 scores. In the opener, the Mudcats couldn't solve the 6-foot-7 Toby Woods, as he held them hitless through five innings, striking out seven and walking three. The Mudcats finally registered a knock against infielder-turned-reliever Shannon in the sixth, but by then the Crabs were up 3-0, thanks to Trent Goodrich and McCoy, who each picked up an RBI and a run in the second.

The Crabs added one more run in the sixth, and Jacob Coats took the mound to close out the short game, a solid 4-0 victory.

Perhaps inspired by his cohorts' success in the first game, Leland Tilley turned in a solid performance on the mound for the Crabs in the nightcap, scattering a scant four hits over six innings to lower his ERA to 0.82.

All the Crabs' offense against Chris Cordova came in the fifth, when they loaded the bases against him with nobody out, and then Cameron Olson launched the aforementioned fireworks, sending one over the fence for a grand slam.