Offense in Stride for Final Stretch
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
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.
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