Season 66 is in the Books

ARCATA (Aug. 8, 2010) — Well, it's official: time flies when you're having fun.

The Humboldt Crabs survived a late rally by the Humboldt Steelheads to win 5-4 at the Arcata Ball Park on Sunday, marking the end of a highly successful season that seemed to whizz by.

How successful, you may ask? Of all Crabs teams to play more than 50 games, this team's 43-9 record ranks fifth in team history. They ended the campaign on a 10-game winning streak, accomplishing the goal manager Matt Nutter had issued to keep the losses to single digits after a three-game slide in mid-July left them at 33-9.

Coming off a thrilling victory in the WCL Tri-State Tournament title game on Saturday, Sunday's affair had almost a festival air to it. Home run derby (Todd Eagle won it), half-priced concessions, banner presentations, awards, kids running the bases, and of course, great baseball.

Thanks largely to the work of starter David Popkins, the Crabs were cruising along with a 5-1 lead heading into the eighth, but three-time former Crabs MVP Jeff Giacomini uncorked a bases-clearing double with two outs and it was suddenly 5-4. But Derrick Dingeman once again came in and preserved the 43rd and final victory of the 2010 Crabs season.

After the game, the traditional postseason awards were handed out. Popkins was named the team MVP for his accomplishments both on offense and on the mound; Andrew Ayers and Garrett Yrigoyen (#GarrettYrigoyen) were named best offensive and defensive players, respectively; and Bryson Rahier was honored with the Kevin Morsching "coach's award."

The Steelheads also gave out some postseason hardware. Spencer Duggan received MVP honors; Giacomini was the top offensive player; Kevin Ayers was the best defensive player; and Justin Yslas received both top pitcher and coach's award.

Thanks to all the fans who came out to make Season 66 one of the best yet!

Crabs Claim WCL Tri-State Title

ARCATA (Aug. 7, 2010) — If you could write the script to a Saturday afternoon at the ballpark, this might be how you'd write it.

On a beautiful warm sunny day before a raucous crowd at the Arcata Ball Park, the Humboldt Crabs broke a scoreless tie in the ninth inning to beat the Redding Colt .45s 1-0 on Saturday to claim the inaugural WCL Tri-State Tournament championship.

David Popkins got the hit that finally broke the seal, poking a single past first base to drive in Ryan Barnes from third base. Barnes had walked to lead off the top of the ninth (the Crabs were the "visiting" team in the game) and advanced to third when Redding first baseman's Aarason Perry threw the ball down the line on a sacrifice bunt by Scott Heylman. Popkins, hitting from the left side, got just enough wood on the ball to squeeze it between Perry and first base, eliciting a huge roar from the crowd that hadn't had much to cheer about for the first eight innings.

That was because Redding starter Brandon Andrieni dominated the Crabs for most of the afternoon. He only allowed one hit over the first seven innings. But Crabs starter John Austin and reliever Jesse Moore matched him zero for zero — with the help of some great defense, most notably a major-league caliber play from Heylman at shortstop in the fifth. Heylman ranged far into the hole to snag a grounder from Andrew Trepel and all in one motion leapt and threw across his body to first, ending the inning and leaving two Colt .45s stranded.

Sidewinder Derrick Dingeman came on in the ninth with the task of locking down the championship. Andrew Lassen hit a one-out single, but Dingeman induced pinch-hitter Matt Alton to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

The Crabs celebrated by spraying "Champagne" (Cook's sparkling cider) around on the field, and Crabs boardmember Randy "Banana Man" Robertson presented the team with a well-earned championship banner.

Crabs Top Folsom, Face Colts For Title

ARCATA (Aug. 6, 2010) — Bring on the Colt .45s.

Chris DeBoo threw eight strong innings and David Popkins hammered a two-run homer onto the freeway as the Humboldt Crabs downed the Folsom Pioneers 4-1 on Friday, setting up a showdown between a pair of 2-0 teams for the WCL Tri-State tournament championship on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

The Crabs got on board first, when Craig Smith tripled to lead off the bottom of the third and then scored on a groundout by Andrew Ayers. They might have scored in the second inning, but two different Crabs were thrown out trying to stretch doubles into triples.

Folsom quickly tied it up in the top of the fourth, only to see the Crabs jump right back on top in the bottom of the frame. Garrett Yrigoyen (#GarrettYrigoyen) singled, then scored when Justin Lamb rocketed a double to the 394-foot sign in left-center.

Popkins gave the Crabs some breathing room an inning later when, with Ayers on first after a walk, he turned on a pitch from Robert Wendzicki and deposited it onto Highway 101.

DeBoo improved to 6-0 with the win, and Tommy Gale pitched the ninth for his first save of the year.

Earlier in the day, the Redding Colt .45s topped the Southern Oregon RiverDawgs 7-5, meaning both Redding and the Crabs are undefeated heading into their matchup on Saturday, a winner-take-all affair to decide who gets to call themselves champions.

Crabs Top Dawgs on Tourney's First Day

ARCATA (Aug. 5, 2010) — It turns out patience is a virtue on the baseball diamond too.

After being stymied by Southern Oregon starter Jon Flinn through seven innings, the Crabs finally broke through against reliever Tiger Sorensen with five runs in the eighth to beat the RiverDawgs 6-2 on the first day of the WCL Tri-State tournament.

The top-seeded Crabs, who won the league regular season crown with a 20-4 record, trailed 2-1 late, mustering only one run on a bases-loaded walk against Flinn. But the floodgates opened in the eighth.

Two walks, an infield hit and an error allowed the Crabs to tie the game, then Jeff "Freeway Ball" Johnson laced a two-run single to put the home team ahead for good. When the dust cleared, Humboldt had a four-run lead, and the ’Dawgs' ninth-inning rally was killed when Derrick Dingeman picked off a runner at first to end the game.

Chris Johnson pitched two innings to the win in relief of starter Alex Capaul, who went six innings and allowed two runs on six hits.

Earlier in the day, Redding defeated Folsom 4-2 in the tournament opener. On Friday, Redding takes on Southern Oregon at 2 p.m., followed by the Crabs and Folsom at 7 p.m.

WCL Tri-State Playoff Schedule Announced

Now that we've got the regular season out of the way, it's time to get down to business.

The inaugural WCL Tri-State Postseason Tournament gets underway Thursday at the Arcata Ball Park. The tournament will be round-robin format, with two games each day. Game 1 will begin at 2 p.m. Thursday between the Redding Colt .45s and the Folsom Pioneers. Game 2 between the Humboldt Crabs and Southern Oregon RiverDawgs follows at 7 p.m. The full schedule is below.

Tournament passes are available at the Crabs box office. An adult pass is $30, seniors and students are $20 and kids are $10. Individual game tickets will be the same price as regular season tickets, and 2010 season passes will also be honored.

Elimination games will take place on Friday, and the champion will be crowned Saturday. The Crabs then wrap up their 2010 season with a final game against the Steelheads Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

Tournament Schedule:

Thursday, Aug. 5

  • 2 p.m. — Redding vs. Folsom
  • 7 p.m. — Southern Oregon vs. Crabs

Friday, Aug. 6

  • 2 p.m. — Southern Oregon vs. Redding
  • 7 p.m. — Folsom vs. Crabs

Satuday, Aug. 7*

  • 12:30 p.m. — Crabs vs. Redding
  • 4 p.m. — Folsom vs. Southern Oregon

2010 Season Winding Down

Photo Caption: Garrett Yrigoyen #33 (#GarrettYrigoyen)

The 66th season of Humboldt Crabs Baseball has flown by, and now there's only a week left. But it will be an action-packed week.

Time is fast running out on the 2010 Crabs season with just a handful of opportunities remaining to see this year's team in action.

This weekend, the Crabs take on the Nevada Bighorns in a three-game league series, before closing out the summer with the WCL Tri-State League playoffs and a single game against the Humboldt Steelheads next week.

And that means there isn't much time left to take in a game at the Arcata Ballpark.

Heading into this weekend's series, the Crabs are 36-9 on the summer, including 17-4 in conference play. And that mark is good enough to have already secured the regular season league championship no matter what happens this weekend.

Next week, however, will offer a different challenge for the Crabs, who will be looking to add the playoff tournament championship when the three-day double-elimination tourney begins Thursday. The schedule will be released Sunday, Aug. 1.

The Bighorns, meanwhile, will be looking for a measure of revenge this weekend after dropping three games to the Crabs by a combined score of 23-3 earlier in the season.

The Crabs' season finale is scheduled for next weekend when the Crabs take on the Humboldt Steelheads for the fourth time this summer in a Sunday afternoon showdown.

Crabs, Big Pete's Announce Home Run Derby

Ever wanted to step into the batter's box at the Arcata Ballpark? The Humboldt Crabs have teamed up with Big Pete's Pizzeria to introduce an exciting new event — a Home Run Derby for fans, with prizes including 2011 tickets and autographed Crabs bats and balls.

On Wednesday, July 28, there will be a signup table at the ballpark. The Home Run Derby is limited to the first 20 qualified contestants aged 18 or over, and then entrance fee is $20. (Sorry, current Crabs and Steelheads players are not eligible.) Contestants will participate in a preliminary round this Sunday, Aug. 1 after the Crabs' game against the Nevada Bighorns, and go up against "Iron Mike," a.k.a. our pitching machine. Each contestant will get 10 hacks. The top three hitters will  come back on the final day of the WCL Tri-State Tournament, Saturday, Aug. 7

The winner will receive a 2011 Season Pass; an autographed special edition Crabs Baseball Bat and a special edition 2010 WCL Tri-State League Tournament shirt. First runner-up receives a 2011 10-ticket strip and an autographed special edition Crabs Baseball, and the second runner-up gets an autographed special edition Crabs Baseball.

Big thanks to Pete Ciotti and Big Pete's Pizzeria for making this event possible!

Nutter Third Crabs Coach With 200 Wins

Milestone Comes on the Road as Team Clinches Second Consecutive WCL Tri-State Title; Focus Turns to League Tournament as Season Winds Down.

Time flies when you're winning ballgames.

It seems like only yesterday that Matt Nutter stood in the Jacoby Storehouse and was introduced as the Crabs' new coach. But on Thursday night up in Medford, Ore., Nutter became just the third Crabs manager to record 200 victories, joining Lou Bonomini and Ken Shorty Ames.

"I wish I would have gotten it at home, but it's amazing to think back," said Nutter after his 201st win Sunday against the California Seals. "I remember 100, and 200 is definitely a nice landmark. It goes so quickly."

Nutter, a one-time Crabs pitcher, took over at the helm in 2006 when Ken "Shorty" Ames — who threw out the first pitch at Sunday's game — retired. Win No. 200 came on the same night the Crabs clinched their second consecutive WCL Tri-State regular season championship.

"This is probably the best team I've been around in a long time," said Nutter after his team improved to 34-9 on Sunday. "Hopefully we finish off strong. It's tough to keep focus at the end of they year, everyone's going in different directions. We've got to put a few goals in front of us. We've won league, but we have the playoffs, and that's big."

The Crabs have just one week remaining in the regular season, starting with a doubleheader against the rival Steelheads on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The WCL Tri-State Tournament begins on Thursday, Aug. 5.

Crabs Hit The Road Again

Team heads to Medford, looking to play better than it did in Redding.

By Ray Hamill

After splitting a midweek doubleheader with the San Francisco Seals, the Crabs will take to the road again this weekend, and this time they'll be hoping for a little more success.

The Crabs' first road trip of the summer saw them drop two of three games at Redding two weeks ago, just their fourth and fifth losses of the entire summer.

Since then, however, the team has won six of seven games and is now a very respectable 31-6 on the season, including 15-3 in conference play, good enough for top spot.

Beginning with a single game Thursday night, the Crabs will resume conference play at the Medford Riverdawgs, before completing the series with a doubleheader Friday night.

The team will be back in Arcata Saturday evening to host the California Seals in a non-conference doubleheader.

Going into this week's games at Medford, the Crabs hold a commanding four-and-a-half game lead in conference play over second-placed Folsom (12-9).

The Crabs close out regular-season conference play with a three-game series against the Nevada Bighorns next week and will then host the WCL Tri-State postseason tournament in early August.

On Wednesday night, the Crabs lost the opening game of a doubleheader with the San Francisco Seals 6-1 before rallying to take the nightcap 5-2.

Crabs Embrace First Road Trip

Crabs coaches Robin Guiver and Matt Nutter see trip as a bonding experience for players.

By Ray Hamill

The Crabs are on the road this weekend and manager Matt Nutter is hoping to use the time to his team's advantage.

"I always look at it as a bonding thing," said Nutter, whose team plays a weekend series at Redding against the Colt 45's. "It's a good thing for the players. It's always a good time."

The Crabs have traditionally played the majority of their games each summer at home, but a couple of road trips are now necessary every season because of league play. But while that means no action this weekend for local fans, it's certainly not all bad news.

"I think we get so used to being at home we can get a little complacent at times, so going on the road can help," said head coach Robin Guiver.

The road trip also gives some out-of-area fans and alumni to check out the Crabs.

"When we get there, I'm sure we'll have some family in town and I'm sure we'll have some alumni in town," said Nutter. "On these road trips it's always fun to see who turns up out of the woodwork,"

After returning from Redding, the Crabs host the Solano Mudcats at the Arcata Ballpark on Wednesday and will make their second road trip later this month when they travel to Medford to play the Riverdawgs.

With a midweek sweep over the Nor Cal Longhorns, the Crabs improved to 24-3 on the season (11-1 in conference play), although both Nutter and Guiver are expecting that impressive run to be tested at Redding.

"They're going to be fired up for us after we played them at home," said Guiver.

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