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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.