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Studs and Suspenders on Saturday

Saturday will be a special day at the ballpark. The Crabs will be taking on the Seattle Studs, who are in their 57th season (founded by the owner of a lumber company, hence the name) at 12:30 p.m. — yes, you heard right, 12:30 p.m.

It will also be Cowbell Day, so bring yours or get one. AND, in honor of longtime board member and Crab promoter Jerry Nutter, who passed away in March, it will also be SUSPENDER DAY! So wear your suspenders, get ahold of a cowbell, and be ready to watch two good, longtime teams play baseball.

And please remember to wear your suspenders responsibly.

Top Speed Can't Keep Up With Crabs

The Crabs welcomed a new opponent to the Arcata Ball Park this week, Santa Rosa-based Top Speed. But the home team seemed to take their adversaries' name as a challenge, slowing them down and sweeping the series by scores of 9-1 and 6-5.

View photos from the series on Facebook.

Other than the names on the rosters and the end results however, the two games couldn't have been more different. In Tuesday's matchup, the Crabs jumped on top 4-0 after two innings, sparked by a two-run double by Bradley Zimmer in the first. Zimmer would eventually remove all doubt about the outcome, crushing a three-run homer to right in the seventh that made the score 8-1.

Kenny Smith allowed just one run on four hits in six innings to earn the win, evening his record at 1-1. Ruben Rios and Evan Ewing came in from the 'pen to close things out.

Things didn't come so easy on Wednesday. Top Speed scored once in the first and twice in the fifth to lead 3-0, while their pitcher, Jake Butler, held the Crabs to just one hit through four innings.

They finally got to Butler in the fifth, answering Top Speed's two-spot with one of their own, courtesy of two walks and a double off the wall by Will Soto.

Top Speed tried to respond, putting up another run in the sixth for a 4-2 lead, but the Crabs erased that with three runs in the bottom of the frame. The big hit in that rally was a two-run single by Riley Drongesen.

The Crabs would add an insurance run on an RBI-single by Spencer Duggan in the seventh for a 6-4 lead, but they weren't out of the woods yet. Top Speed rallied against Jason Hampton in the ninth. They scored one run, but Hampton got Rob Pena to ground out to second with the tying run on third.

Up next, the Crabs welcome the Seattle Studs in for what should be a great weekend series. Please note that due to the Oyster Festival, Saturday's game will be a 12:30 p.m. start instead of the usual 7 p.m. evening game.

Get to know Bradley Zimmer

The early leader in the 2012 home run race, Bradley Zimmmer passed up a shot at the MLB draft in 2011, and the Crabs are reaping the benefits.

By Tina Naderi

When people describe Bradley Zimmer the first two words that come out of their mouths are he’s big and fast. An unfortunate combination of words if you were describing, say, a ballerina. Luckily for Zimmer and Crabs’ fans, he’s the promising right fielder for the 2012 team and someone with a bright career ahead of him.

Zimmer grew up on the southern California coast, in San Diego, where he began to play baseball “as soon as [he] could swing a bat in the backyard.” He began to play tee ball at four years-old and from there began to progress into the player he is today.

And he became a great player. In fact, Zimmer had the opportunity to enter the Major League Baseball draft straight out of high school in 2011, however, he chose to forgo it and chose to go to college at the University of San Francisco instead.

"I felt like I had a great opportunity to play for a great D-I team., he said.

Zimmer maintains that he made the right decision, saying he didn’t want to miss out on the college experience. In addition, he also liked the fact that by joining the USF baseball team he would join his older brother, Kyle, on the roster.

Right now Zimmer is working on his game playing for the Humboldt Crabs as one of their newest outfielders, and already he’s made a strong impression with the coaching staff.

Matt Nutter, manager of the Crabs, says he believes that Zimmer will bring a lot of excitement to the fans.

"[He’s an] athletic player-- great speed. [I] think he can hit some balls in the outfield where a lot of players wouldn’t. I expect great things out of him."

Head coach Robin Guiver has a harder time placing his expectations, however, sees someone with dedication and good work ethics in Zimmer. Guiver believes that if Zimmer puts in enough reps and gets in more more at bats he will do “great stuff for [the team] this summer."

"[He has a] strong arm on him; [he] could play center or right field,[maybe] left field too, but right field is where you want your strongest arm [and] he’s got the best arm out of the outfielders we have right now.”

Teammate Spencer Duggan shares the same sentiment in Zimmer’s throwing arm strength, calling it a "man cannon."

"He’s an exciting player to watch... You never know if he’s going to lay down a bunt or hit a home run."

Zimmer is very focused on making sure he does what he can to improve himself as a ballplayer. He likes to explore Arcata, but mainly he hits the HSU weight room and runs on his free time to ensure he’s in the best shape possible for the season.

Overall, Zimmer has confidence in his abilities as a player, but would like to make some small adjustments.

"One thing that I would like to change is [to have] a better approach at the plate at all times," he said. "When I’m behind in the count, make sure I stand my approach and stop swinging at balls."

Zimmer still holds aspirations to enter the MLB draft eventually, but for now is studying communications as USF. Both Nutter and Guiver believe that Zimmer is a multifaceted player who, with practice, can become a real threat of a ball player. As Guiver put it, “He’s got all the talent you need to play the game for a long time.”

Crabs Top Legends in 11 to Take Series

Jason Hampton hit a walkoff single to win Sunday's rubber match 3-2 and give Humboldt a solid start in Far West League Play.

The Crabs hosted their first league opponent of the 2012 campaign this weekend, and after dropping Friday's opener, they took the last two games to take the series against the Menlo Park Legends two games to one.

View photos from the weekend on our Facebook page.

In Friday's contest, the home team got off to a fast start when Will Soto smacked a two-run homer to right in the first inning, but that turned out to be all the Crabs' offense would produce. Meanwhile, the Legends pounded out 13 hits against Tanner McIntyre and Kurt Yinger in a 5-2 victory.

The Legends hoped to keep the momentum on their side on Saturday, and jumped out to an early 3-run lead. But everything came together for the Crabs in the fourth. In a sign of things to come, Bradley Zimmer led off the inning with a triple and quickly scored on a single by Jason Hampton.

With two outs and the bases loaded — after the Legends had failed to turn a potential inning-ending 5-2-3 double play — Soto singled in two runs to give the Crabs the lead. That turned out to be the first of four straight two-out hits, and by the time the Legends finally managed to record the third out, the score was 8-3 in favor of Humboldt. The Crabs would tack on three more the next inning and cruise to an 11-5 win.

For much of the day on Sunday, it looked as if the Crabs would sail to a neat and tidy shutout win on a perfect summer afternoon. They scored once in the first and once in the eighth, and that appeared to be enough for pitchers Johnny Melero, Hampton and Andrew Nelson. But with one on and one out in the top of the ninth, Mike Marcoux hammered a pitch from Nelson over the wall in right to tie the game and set up extra innings.

The Legends threatened in their half of the 11th, but Jimmy MacWilliam worked his way out of a jam to keep it tied at 2. Riley Drongensen then walked to lead off the home half of the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Zimmer. Then with Drongensen in motion toward third, Hampton drove a ball into the left field gap for the walkoff winner.

Now 5-2 on the season and 2-1 in Far West League play. the Crabs return to non-league action for a while, as they welcome Top Speed into the Ball Park on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both games are at 7 p.m.

Crabs Slip Past Sluggers

Bradley Zimmer, above, got the Crabs on the board with a mammoth solo homer, and a late rally gave them the lead for good.

It ain't how you start, it's how you finish.

The Crabs came out somewhat sluggish on Wednesday against the Humboldt Sluggers, a team of local players coached by former Crab Eric Giacone, but Bradley Zimmer's third-inning homer got the home team on the board and a two-run rally in the eighth gave the Crabs a hard-fought 4-3 win.

See photos from Wednesday's game on Facebook.

Spencer Duggan continued his hot start to the season, driving in Garth Bonomini with two outs in the fourth and doubling in the tying run before scoring the go-ahead run on a Clay Cedarquist single in the eighth.

If the Crabs thought they would have an easy go of things against the younger local squad, they soon learned that if they were to walk away with a 'W' on this night, they'd have to earn it. The Sluggers got on the board first and still led 3-1 in the sixth, before Bonomini and Duggan both managed to poke singles through the right side to make it 3-2.

This weekend, the Crabs kick of Far West League play against the Menlo Park Legends. Game times are 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Friday night's contest is Learn to Earn Night, sponsored by Umpqua Bank.

Crabs Shake off the Mudcats

Spencer Duggan, left, went 6-for-7 on the weekend as Humboldt took the opening weekend series from Solano two games to one.

 

It took a game and a half to get the offensive juices flowing, but once the Crabs got going, there seemed to be no way to stop them as they took their season-opening series against the Solano Mudcats two games to one.

Check out photos from the weekend on our Facebook page.

Humboldt dropped the first game of 5-2 on Saturday, but a pair of home runs in the sixth inning of the nightcap broke open a close game and sent the Crabs to a 9-1 win. 

The home runs, from Clay Cedarquist and Jeff Giacomini, turned a 2-1 game into a 4-1 game, and Humboldt wasn't done. The next inning they put up 5 more — the big blow being a bases-loaded double from Austin Prott — and the rout was on.

Drew Bradshaw earned the win on the mound, throwing six strong innings and allowing only one run. Kurt Yinger and Jimmy MacWilliam closed things out.

For Sunday's finale, the Crabs weren't interested in starting slow. They led 3-0 after two, and a 7-spot in the fourth gave them a double-digit lead from which they never looked back in a 12-0 mercy-rule win.

Cedarquist and Arcata High product Spencer Duggan were the offensive stars, each driving in 3 runs. Duggan went 4-for-4, and was 6-for-7 on the weekend.

Johnny Malero allowed only two hits in four innings to earn the win. He could easily have gone out for more, but with a big lead, head coach Robin Guiver opted to give some innings to Jason Hampton and Tanner McIntyre.

Up next for the Crabs are the Humboldt Sluggers, a team coached by former Crab Eric Giacone. First pitch is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

They're Heeeeeeeeere!

Crabs fans, the wait is over. Thursday marked a semi-offical first day of the 68th season of Crabs Baseball as the first group of players gathered at the Arcata Ball Park for their first official practice.

 

"It's always special getting out here and getting the ball rolling," said seventh-year manager Matt Nutter as the session was winding down. "I'm excited, the guys swung it well."

After Friday night's opening dinner, the season kicks off Saturday with two games against the Solano Mudcats, the first at 12:30 p.m. and the second an evening tilt at 7 p.m. The two teams finish their three-game series Sunday at 12:30.

As is usually the case, the full complement of players won't be here right away. Some are still in school, some are on teams still playing for championships.

 

"They're trickling in right now, we'll be a little thin the first week," said Nutter. But I look forward to sitting back and watching the guys play, getting to know what they can do."

Nutter hinted that the shortage of players might end up pulling a couple of former fan favorites out of retirement, if only temporarily. One thing they're definitely short on this weekend is catcher, and it just so happens that coaches Brad Morgan and Jeff Giacomini have each spent their share of time behind the dish.

And now...play ball!

 

 

Introducing the Crabs UStream Channel

The Crabs are excited to announce that for the 2012 season, we're streaming video of games live through UStream!

UStream is free and easy to use. All you have to do is visit our UStream Channel, and any time we're playing, you'll see the view Hoke and Ben see from the press box, while you listen to them call the game. There's even a chat box right there on the page where you can talk with your fellow fans.

Check it out, and bookmark it, because although we want to see you at the park every game, that's not always possible.

Calling All Alumni

Attention Humboldt Crabs Alumni:

In thanks for all of the years of outstanding baseball, we have created a Lifetime Alumni Passes for you for admission to future home games. Please send our Alumni Liaison, Vikki Rossi, your full name, mailing address, phone number(s), and years played to vikki@reninet.com so she can get you on the list of card recipients.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you out at the ballpark!

Crabs Family Remembers Jerry Nutter

The themes were clear: he empowered many, accomplished much, but never wanted credit for any of it.

Hundreds of friends, family, and Crabs fans gathered at the Arcata Community Center on a typically overcast Sunday afternoon to honor the memory of Crabs boardmember and former president Jerry Nutter, whom the Times-Standard recently dubbed "The Man Who Saved the Crabs."

Nutter was the man who, in 1995 when it was announced that the Crabs would be packing it in, rounded up a group of local baseball lovers and found a way to save the team. He drew upon decades of experience as an executive with the YMCA, put together a plan, and saw it carried out.

"Jerry's genius was in his ability to bring people together and help them identify their mission, and then how to get them to make sure they get all the credit for what the did," said John Fesler, a fellow Crabs boardmember and friend of over five decades who was the first to speak at the memorial. "He was a results-oriented person."

The memorial featured the music of the Crab Grass Band, two beautiful a capella songs from Eliot Dancy, several former Crabs, and speeches from a handful of friends. As one speaker noted, perhaps it was fate the the memorial service was held on April Fools Day, because Nutter was always cracking little jokes, known as Nutterisms, and always had a slightly goofy smile on his face, whether he was at a board meeting or the ballpark. The lighthearted attitude belied an intensely focused, hardworking man who did everything he could to help those he loved, and that included the Crabs, for whom he gave everything until the day he died.

The last speaker was Jerry's son, Matt Nutter, who modified Lou Gehrig's famous "luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech, with his daughers and a few former players behind him in support. He closed by talking about how, whether it was after a day of elementary school, or after his first career college start — a win against a couple of guys named Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson — the first thing Jerry wanted to know was, "Did you have fun?"

Photos of the event are up on the Crabs' Facebook page. Here is NewsChannel3's piece on the day. Below is a sampling of quotes from the ceremony:

John Fesler:

"With all of Jerry's talents he would be the first to tell you he had a lot of help in everything he did. He knew that his successes were because of you."

Tony Asaro:

"What Jerry gave to me, and what he gives to others, is the ability to see what they can do, not what they can't do."

"He was playing his banjo and I said, 'That's the best instrument ever, you can't play anything but a happy tune with it,' and he said, 'I know, ain't it great?'"

"At 50 I got that dream (of being vice president of the Sacramento RiverCats), from the foundation that Jerry and Karen gave me when I was 18."

Breck Robinson:

"I've never met anyone in my life who accomplished so much and had so many talents, yet never sought credit for anything he accomplished."

"If we could all just be a little bit like Jerry, this world would be a better place."

Larry Rosen:

"He was a man whose twinkling eyes and raucous laugh put life's little bumps and potholes in perspective. What I wouldn't give to hear that laugh today."

"Boiled to its essence, what Jerry gave to this community in the Crabs is what he gave to many communities across the country."

* The Crabs will honor Jerry Nutter at the Annual Dinner at the Arcata Community Center on June 1st and at the ballpark on Saturday, June 16th (Jerry's 75th birthday).  June 16th will be suspender day at the yard in honor of Jerry.

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