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Postseason Hardware - Goodrich is the MVP

By Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (Aug. 3, 2014) — As has become the tradition at the end of every season, the Crabs handed out some postseason hardware after Sunday’s finale, and the most prestigious piece of hardware went to Trent Goodrich, the second-year Crabs shortstop who was named the team’s 2014 Most Valuable Player.

Goodrich led the Crabs with 61 hits and 31 runs, and would have won the team’s Ironman Award too, if there was one, as he was the only player to appear in all 49 games. And after a bit of a slow start, he soon became a rock at one of the key positions on the field.

A few minutes before behind handed the MVP trophy, Goodrich had given the crowd one last show, an exclamation point on a terrific season. With a runner on an no outs in the ninth, Goodrich dove to his left to snag a sharp grounder, got to his knees and tossed the ball to Brandon Hunley, who wheeled and completed a SportsCenter-worthy double play. One out later the season was over.

“It’s been awesome,” said Goodrich. “Out here there’s a bunch of fans who are really pulling for you and just playing out here. It’s something special to be in a place like Arcata that really loves the team that’s out there on the field. It’s awesome that I can make them cheer, make plays and that they’re behind me.”

The Offensive Player of the Year award was given to Alex Crosby. The big first baseman hit .326 with 13 doubles and 31 RBIs, good for second best on the team.

The Pitcher of the Year was an easy choice. It went to the team’s Friday night anchor, Andrew Nelson. He went 9-0, and the only time he didn’t earn the ‘W’, the team still did, going 10-0 in his starts. He sported a 1.36 ERA over 66 innings, 25 more than any other pitcher.

The Kevin Morsching/Scott Heinig Memorial Coaches Award was shared by Hunley and Brian Bynum. Hunley, playing opposite Goodrich in the middle infield, and Bynum, who came in as a pitcher but transformed midseason into the starting right fielder, both impressed the coaches with their perseverance and performance throughout the season.

• Watch Sunday night's Crabs Cornerclick here.

• Read up on all the Crabs games from the daily newspaper in town, the Times-Standard.

• View all our photos from the weekend our Facebook page.

• Follow us on Twitter and hashtag us: #HumboldtCrabs, #Crabs, #GoCrabsGo or #LifeAsACrab

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Going Out With a Bang

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (Aug. 3, 2014) — The “Going Out With a Bang” slogan the Crabs used in the last week of the 2014 season was a literal reference to Saturday night’s postgame fireworks show, but it could also be a metaphor for how they finished the season on the field.

Over the final week of the 70th season of Crabs Baseball, the hometown Crustaceans put on quite the pyrotechnics display, outscoring their opponents 33-3 over the five games to finish 34-15 in Manager Tyson Fisher’s first season at the helm.

“We couldn’t have ended it any better,” said Fisher. “We finished out the weekend the way that we wanted to, getting the brooms out. That last week we were playing really good baseball….Pitchers were outstanding again, and our hitters got some big time hits in some big time spots. It was a good way to go out.”

One of the stars in the final week was leadoff hitter Beau Bozett. As leadoff hitters are supposed to be, Bozett was the spark plug for the offense all week long. He hit .545 (12-for-22) over the last five games, with three doubles, a triple, and his first home run of the year in the 49th and final game.

Having already scored the initial run of the game on a Trent Goodrich single in the first, Bozett came to the plate with two on and two out in the second. He clubbed a ball to left-center that sailed over the 343 sign and onto the newly-repaved freeway for a three-run shot to send the Crabs on their way to a 7-0 season-ending victory.

The way the pitchers were throwing, Bozett’s offense alone might have been enough. Stingy is probably not a strong enough adjective to describe the performances by every Crab who took the mound over the final week.

On Tuesday against the Valley Bears — a last-minute substitution after the Santa Rosa Rose Buds were forced to cancel — Dillon Houser and Michael Westra combined for a shutout in a 9-0 Crabs win. The next day, Zach Settles and Adam Wozniak were nearly as good in a 9-1 victory.

Friday was, as it has been all season, the Andrew Nelson Show. He finished off his perfect season by shutting down the Novato Knicks, allowing one run on three hits over seven innings. Fellow Humboldt native Zach Stone threw two innings of no-hit relief to make Morgan McCasland’s three-run homer stand up in a 3-1 win.

On Saturday, the combo of Justin Hatch, Mack Meyer and JD Doran again held the Knicks to a single run as the Crabs cruised to a 5-1 win. Then in Sunday’s finale, Jake Shull threw five dominant innings of one-hit ball before yielding to Casey Rodriguez and Johnny Melero to close out the season in style.

“I had a lot of fun with this group,” said Fisher. “We had some ups and downs, but I haven’t been on a team before where there’s not been ups and downs. That’s how it always is. I learned a few things, and hopefully next year’s going to be bigger and better.”

A Missed Opportunity

The Crabs had a chance to sweep the Redding Colt 45s and win the season series in the Highway 299 rivalry, but couldn't come up with the clutch hit.

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

Perhaps the Crabs should have known that it wouldn’t be their day on Sunday when the first Redding Colt 45s batter of the game promptly tripled off the wall and scored on a sacrifice fly, all while wearing a green plastic Hawaiian skirt.

Zak Kutsulis was just trying to get into the spirit of Hawaiian Day at the Arcata Ball Park, and even took the thing off briefly at third base before being prompted but the crowd to put it back on, but the whole odd sight had to be some sort of omen that the baseball gods were on Redding’s side.

How else can you explain Ansel Cecil’s failed attempt to steal home, ending a rally, or Morgan McCasland coming in to pinch hit with the bases loaded, only to hit a 20-foot check swing roller?

The latter scenario came in the seventh inning of a 1-1 game, and the Crabs’ failure to convert immediately proved costly, as Redding took advantage of an error to score twice in the top of the eighth and take the lead for good, winning the finale of the teams’ three-game series 3-1 and spoiling a solid outing by Crabs starter Zach Stone.

“It’s kind of been the tale of the story for Stone,” said manager Tyson Fisher, a somewhat frustrated tone in his voice. “He hasn’t gotten much help in his Sunday starts, and it’s really too bad. It’s a wasted effort from the pitching staff’s side. Our hitters have to be better and we need to be better defensively.”

The Crabs had a chance to sweep the Colt 45s after getting swept themselves by the Pacific Union Financial Capitalists, or PufCaps earlier in the week. A sweep would have given Humboldt a 4-2 victory in the season series of the Highway 299 rivalry, but they came up a clutch hit or two short, something that has burned the team on a few too many occasions this season, and had to settle for a split.

“We played really well Friday and Saturday, so to have the negative ending to the weekend and this week, that’s the frustrating part,” said Fisher.

Friday and Saturday had gone so well, in fact, that the sour taste of being swept by the PufCaps had quickly been forgotten. On Friday, staff ace Andrew Nelson was his usual suffocating self. He shut the Colt 45s down for seven innings to earn his seventh win of the season as the Crabs cruised 4-0.

The Crabs scored all four of their runs in the second, and Trent Goodrich provided the big blow. With the bases loaded and a run already in, Goodrich smacked a ball that curled away from center fielder Kutsulis and into the right field gap. The ball rolled to the wall and all three runners scored.

On Saturday, the Crabs overcame some early errors to run away with a 9-2 win. Redding led 2-1 after four innings, but Humboldt erupted for eight runs over the final four innings, starting as baseball rallies often seem to do, with a bloop double that found space down the right-field line by Brandon Hunley in the fifth.

As it has done all year, the bullpen locked the Colt 45s down after taking over for Jake Shull in the sixth. Casey Rodriguez and Zach Williams each threw two scoreless innings to seal it.

But with a chance to build a three-game winning streak heading into the final week of the season, the Crabs fizzled in the afternoon sun.

“We had opportunities to shut them down today, and really take the wind away from their sails, and we just flat out didn’t do it,” said Fisher. “We had terrible at-bats with runners in scoring position, and it’s frustrating.”

The Crabs will close things out with a midweek two-game series against Valley Bears and then a three-gamer against the Novato Knicks this weekend. The Bears, who came up for a single game earlier in the season, are a last-minute replacement for the Santa Rosa Rose Buds, who had to cancel. Saturday night the team will put an explosive cap on the season with a postgame fireworks show.

• Watch Sunday night's Crabs Corner, click here.

• Read up on all the Crabs games from the daily newspaper in town, the Times-Standard.

• Read Nate Abaureea's article from the Redding Searchlight.

• View all our photos from the weekend our Facebook page.

• Each week we'll have a new player supplement inside the Crabs program for sale at the ball park with scorecards, new player photos, special events, social media info and a week wrap up story by Erik Fraser. There is also a Crabs Kid's program available that comes with crayons for your little crabbie.

Crabs Stay Hot With 4-1 Week

Morgan McCasland is mobbed by teammates after his inside-the-park not-home run on Friday against the Walnut Creek Crawdads.

A 2-1, 14-inning loss was the only blemish as Humboldt improved to 27-11

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (July 20, 2014) — The chilly evening air at the Arcata Ball Park did nothing to cool off the Crabs last week. The team posted a 4-1 record against the San Mateo Rounders and Walnut Creek Crawdads, and their only loss came in a game that was scoreless through 13 innings.

Crabs manager Tyson Fisher was quick to praise his pitching staff, which allowed just seven runs in the five games.

“Our pitchers have been great all series, all year really,” he said. “I don’t know what our team ERA is but I know it’s under three (it’s 2.34). The performances we got all weekend were great. We’ve been really good out of the bullpen all year, and this weekend we were good from the starting roles all the way to the closer role.”

The best pitching performance of the week was that of the starter in the only game the Crabs lost - Jake Shull. Shull simply overpowered the Crawdads’ lineup, retiring the first nine batters he faced, and carrying a no-hitter into the seventh in a game that was zipping along.

But he was matched zero for zero on the scoreboard by Walnut Creek’s 6’ 5” right-hander Taylor Wright, who pitched into the ninth. Both bullpens continued the theme as the game stretched into extra frames, but not for lack of scoring chances, at least for the Crabs.

Morgan McCasland doubled deep to left-center with one out in the ninth, but was left there. In the 10th, the Crabs put runners on second and third with one out, but two grounders to second failed to produce the winning run.

Beau Bozett nearly won it in the 12th, laying a bunt down on the third base line with a man on third and two outs, but Crawdads third baseman Joey Lewis made fine play to pick up the ball and fire the ball to first just ahead of Bozett’s foot.

It was Lewis who finally broke the seal in the top of the 14th, knocking in two Crawdads when Bozett couldn’t quite make the play on his bases-loaded liner to right. The Crabs would get one back in the bottom of the inning, but a potential game-tying run never got past second base.

The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Crabs, and one might have wondered if it would be tough to rebound after falling in a marathon like that. But the Crabs showed no signs of a hangover, rebounding to take the final game of the series 6-1.

“We played 14 innings, but it’s not like the game time was that much longer,” said Fisher. “We still got out of here by 11 I think, so it was just a quick game that went an extra long time. You always kind of worry a little bit about how guys will respond after a tough loss like that, but our guys have bounced back all year long after tough losses.”

Alex Crosby, whose double keyed a four-run seventh on Sunday to put what Fisher called “the nail in the coffin” of what had been a one-run game, said the team knew what kind of mindset would be needed on Sunday.

“Don’t act tired the next day,” he said. “We had to come out prepared, ready. We needed the win and we got it.”

In the opener against the Crawdads, Andrew Nelson added to his team-leading wins total, improving to 7-0 with six solid innings in a 7-3 Crabs win. Kyle Moses and McCasland provided the spark on offense, Moses with a  three-run double in the fourth, and McCasland with an inside-the-park home ru—er, triple-and-and-error-that-allowed-him-to-score in the second that rattled around against the fence by the “394” sign.

The series win gave the Crabs a measure of revenge against one of the teams that had beaten them when the team was on their road trip, and they’ll get a chance at more this weekend. After a three-game midweek set against the Pacific Union Capitalists that includes the only doubleheader on this year’s schedule on Wednesday, the Crabs will welcome their rivals from over Highway 299, the Redding Colt .45s. The .45s took two of three when the teams squared off in the Redding heat, and Crosby, for one, is ready for payback.

“We owe it to those guys to put it to ’em and sweep ’em,” he said.

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday at 6pm on KIEM News Ch. 3  Sports.

• Read up on all the Crabs games from the daily newspaper in town, the Times-Standard.

• View all our photos from the weekend our Facebook page.

• Each week we'll have a new player supplement inside the Crabs program for sale at the ball park with scorecards, new player photos, special events, social media info and a week wrap up story by Erik Fraser. There is also a Crabs Kid's program available that comes with crayons for your little crabbie.

Finding Their Groove

Brandon Hunley hit one of his team's three home runs on Sunday as the Crabs swept the Menlo Park Legends and improved to 23-10

Crabs take three from Menlo Park Legends
by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (July 13, 2014) — In the first two games of their series against the Menlo Park Legends, the Crabs needed eighth-inning rallies to pull out narrow victories. Figuring they couldn’t count on being able to score four runs in the eighth every time out, the Crabs took a novel approach in Sunday’s series finale - getting ahead early and staying there.

Brandon Hunley, Brent Gillespie and Taylor Tempel homered to power the offense, and Zach Stone threw seven shutout innings as the Crabs beat the Legends 7-1 to complete the sweep after Friday and Saturday’s come-from-behind wins by scores of 8-6 and 5-4 respectively.

“It was good to get the sweep,” said Manager Tyson Fisher. “We scored some runs, and Stone was pretty good on the mound. Seven innings, no runs, I think he gave up three hits…. We were able to get the sweep against a team that we wanted to get the sweep against.”

After Trent Goodrich singled in EJ Stanton to start the scoring in the third, Hunley went “Freeway Ball” in the fourth. Gillespie hit a two-run blast to right in the sixth. After the Legends scored a run in the top of the eighth to make it 4-1, Tempel squashed any thought of a Menlo Park comeback with a two-run shot of his own in the bottom of the frame.

The Crabs have now won 10 of their past 11, dropping only a 6-3 decision to the Alameda Merchants in the second of two midweek games last week.

“I think our guys are settled in, they’re comfortable with everything now,” said Fisher. “Now they’re just going out and playing each and every day. they know what’s expected of them each and every day, they know what they’re going to get and going to work.

Gillespie for one certainly was comfortable in the batter’s box against the Legends. In addition to his two-run homer on Sunday, Gillespie had provided the big blow in Saturday’s comeback win — a two-out, three-run triple to deep right-center that negated a fine pitching performance by the Legends’ Zachary Gross and propelled the Crabs to a 5-4 victory.

“We’re becoming more of a team,” Gillespie said. “I think we’re bringing it all together. Our pitching staff is excellent and we’re hitting when we need to, with two outs and runners in scoring position.”

The triple capped a three-hit, four-RBI night for Gillespie, who nearly doubled his season RBI output in two games.

“I have a leg kick,” he said, “and I’ve been struggling, leaning forward, not leaning back and that’s messing up my timing, but these last two days I’ve gotten it down in time and I’ve been much more comfortable.”

Friday night’s win came thanks in part to Legends pitcher Tim Willittes suddenly falling out of his comfort zone. Willittes had cruised through the first three innings allowing only an unearned run in the first, but in the fourth it all fell apart. Willittes issued three straight bases-loaded walks to Crabs hitters, giving Humboldt the lead and abruptly ending his night.

Still, the Crabs found themselves trailing 5-4 entering the bottom of the eighth. But Goodrich singled in pinch runner Ansel Cecil to tie the game, and Alex Crosby drove in two more with a single of his own as the Crabs took the lead for good.

Now the team sports a solid 23-10 record as they hit the home stretch of the season, and Fisher is looking to see his squad finish things off strong.

“We’ve got three weeks left, and just because there might not be a league or a tournament at the end, we’ve still got a lot to play for,” he said. “We’ve got a chance to finish thing on a pretty good run of what we’ve been doing, and I think that they’re all bought into it.”

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday at 6pm on KIEM News Ch. 3  Sports. This Sunday, Chet Davis interviews Crabs infielders Brandon Hunley, Brent Gillespie, outfielder Taylor Tempel, pitcher Johnny Melero and recruiter Robin Guiver.

• Read up on all the Crabs games from the daily newspaper in town, the Times-Standard.

• View all our photos from the weekend our Facebook page.

• Each week we'll have a new player supplement inside the Crabs program for sale at the ball park with scorecards, new player photos, special events, social media info and a week wrap up story by Erik Fraser. There is also a Crabs Kid's program available that comes with crayons for your little crabbie.

• #Life As A Crab by Leon Villagomez for Humboldt Made blog and photos. 

Welcoming in the Class of 2014

As part of their annual Alumni Weekend festivities, the Crabs held a pregame ceremony on Saturday to officially induct its Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

The class consisted of 10 players spanning nearly the entire history of the organization, from Red Hunt, the first Crabs pitcher ever, to Jeff Giacomini, who’s only five years removed from his playing days with the team. They also inducted the 1981 Crabs team, which went 43-10 and at one point won 25 consecutive games.

Here is the entire list of honorees:

  • Eldridge “Red” Hunt (1945-48)
  • Carl Del Grande (1948-51, 1954-55)
  • Dennis Pontoni (1959-64)
  • Augie Garrido (1959-61, 1966)
  • Rich Nye (1965)
  • Richard Bordi (1978)
  • Roderick Booker (1979)
  • Steve Neel (1984-85)
  • Gary Wilson (1989)
  • Jeff Giacomini (2007-09)

Click here for detailed biographical information on all of this year’s inductees put together by Crabs historian Brice Gummersall.

Home Cooking Tastes Sweet

The Crabs returned to Arcata weary from a 2-4 road trip, but quickly put it behind them, reeling off six straight wins

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (July 6, 2014) — The road was rocky, but at home this past week, it was nothing but smooth sailing for the Crabs.

After a disappointing 2-4 record on their only road trip of the season, the Crabs returned to the Arcata Ball Park and promptly won six straight. They dominated Fontanetti’s Athletics in a midweek series by a combined score of 25-4, then ground out three one-run victories against the Solano Mudcats to push their record to 19-9.

“It was outstanding,” said Crabs Manager Tyson Fisher. “Not only getting a sweep against a quality team with three one-run ballgames, but getting the weeklong sweep was pretty good. I like how the guys are playing right now.”

After such a lopsided series against Fontanetti’s, was Fisher worried that his team would become complacent?

“No and, I think that that all starts on Friday night with (Andrew) Nelson,” said Fisher. “I think that our pitching was outstanding all weekend, and players feed off of that.”

Nelson earned Fisher’s praises with 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball in the opener against the Mudcats. He needed to be good as the Crabs only managed a single run themselves.

“He’s been the guy,” Fisher said of Nelson, “and he works at it, to get better each and every start. He has a plan in mind, and he does it all week long, to get to where he’s ready for Friday night. I can’t say enough about him.”

Jake Shull followed up Nelson’s performance with another solid outing on Saturday. He allowed just one run on four hits over six innings before allowing Mack Meyer and Zach Williams to finish the job in a 2-1 win.

The welcome-back winning streak almost ended Sunday however, as the Crabs had to battle back twice to beat the Mudcats 6-5 in extra innings in their series final. The second comeback came in the 12th inning after a Nick Spini single scored Alvaro Rubacaba to give Solano a 5-4 lead.

Trent Goodrich started the bottom of the 12th with a single, moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt, and made his way to third on a groundout by Alex Crosby. Morgan McCasland then ripped a triple just over the head of left fielder Nick Perez to score Goodrich and tie the game, breathing new life into a weary and sun-baked crowd.

With Beau Bozett pinch-running for McCasland, the Mudcats issued intentional passes to both EJ Stanton and Taylor Tempel, loading the bases for AB Blanchet.

With one out, all Blanchet needed to do was hit a fly ball deep enough to score Bozett. Well, Blanchet left no doubt, crushing a ball high and deep to right. The right fielder didn’t even bother to look up, and as Bozett scampered home with the winning run, the Crabs poured out of the dugout to mob Blanchet near first base.

For a while, it didn’t look like the Crabs would even get to extra innings. Solano jumped ahead 4-0 after two innings, thanks in part to a pair of outfield hits that barely eluded diving Crabs outfielders Ansel Cecil and Kyle Moses.

Blanchet finally got the Crabs on the board when he singled in Brent Gillespie in the fifth. But what could have been a bigger rally was squashed by Mudcats reliever Donnie Gardiner, who induced two strikeouts and a popup, leaving Crabs standing at second and third.

The game-tying rally would come in the seventh, gift-wrapped, and tied with a bow by the Mudcats. With two outs, the bases loaded and a run already in, McCasland and Gillespie both “took one for the team,” forcing in two runs to knot things up at 4 and set up the extra-innings drama.

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday night at 6pm on KIEM News Ch. 3 Sports

Redding and Humboldt series heats up

Postcards from the Road
By Allen Scott/For the Humboldt Crabs
Redding Series: June 27 - June 29

REDDING, CA (June 28, 2014)  — In a controversy filled game at Redding on Saturday night, the Humboldt Crabs dropped the second game of the three game series 6-3.  Eight Crabs were ejected from the game at different times including manager Tyson Fisher.  The Colt 45 manager Rick Bosetti was also tossed but none of his players went out despite a bench clearing incident.

     The Crabs scored first on a double by Kyle Moses and the RBI single by Trent Goodrich in the third inning.  Redding countered back in the bottom of the inning on the first of the several arguments.  Third baseman EJ Stanton fielded a slow roller and fired to first.  First baseman Brent Gillespie, in the eyes of the Crabs, recorded the out, pulled the ball out of his glove to throw it around the infield.  His throw to shortstop Goodrich was off line and all of a sudden Jack Flahrity of the Colt 45's took off for second and then third.  The umpire contended that Gillespie had dropped the ball.  Crabs manager Tyson Fisher argued that the drop was on the exchange from the glove.  Fisher lost and was ejected.

     The controversy re-started in the Crabs sixth when Morgan McCasland was hit by a pitch and EJ Stanton collided with the 45's first baseman in the course of running out an infield hit.  Runners advance with the ball down the right field line and the first baseman on the ground. 

     Colt 45's catcher Cole Taylor took exception and fronted off Stanton near the Crabs dugout, prompting several Crabs to come off the bench, follow in suit by Colt 45's from their bench.  The only players tossed were Humboldt team members.

     The 45's manager was tossed on a disputed call at home when an errant McCasland toss to second got away but Matt Sinatro pounced on the ball, throwing to McCasland for the out, the argument, and the ejection. 

The Crabs are now 13-8 on the season.

Saturday's Box Score:
Crabs        001 001 001   3  5  2
Redding    001 100 11X   6  9  3

WP:  Alex Lee
LP:  Dillon Houser

Attendance: 585

For full box score, click here: Redding Colt 45s Point Streak page.

Redding Searchlight article about the game by HSU Alumni Nate Abaurrea, click here.

Article by Ray Aspuria from the Times-Standard newspaper in Eureka, click here.

Friday, June 27 • From Tiger Field, Redding:
• Friday night's attendance: 649
• Friday night's score: Crabs 10, Colt 45s 0
• Read the game summary from the Times-Standard, click here.
• Friday night's Full box score from the Redding Colt 45s website, click here.
• Article from the Redding Searchlight, click here.

Sunday, June 29 • From Tiger Field, Redding: 
• Sunday night's score: Crabs 3, Colt 45s 10
• Sunday's box score from the Redding Colt 45s website, click here.
• The Crabs record: 13 Wins and 9 Losses
• Redding Searchlight article, click here.
• Times-Standard Eureka article, click here.

Athlete of the Week with Chet Davis from KIEM News Ch. 3

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday on KIEM News. Ch. 3


Let's Shake Things Up

Tyson Fisher's decision to stick Alex Crosby in the leadoff spot paid off bigtime as the Crabs won four straight heading into their six-game road trip

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (June 22, 2014) — Looking for a way too spark the team’s offense after losing three straight games last week — two in shutout fashion — Crabs Manager Tyson Fisher threw Alex Crosby into the leadoff spot on Wednesday, June 18 against the Marysville Gold Sox.

Crosby, a first baseman and designated hitter, has spent most of the year smack-dab in the heart of the order, and isn’t exactly your prototypical leadoff hitter, but there was reasoning behind Fisher’s decision.

“I wanted to have him be more aggressive,” said Fisher. “I think that at times he can kind of not be as aggressive and misses some pitches, and that’s when he gets himself out. I was trying to give him a jolt, and give our whole team a jolt. We need to be aggressive with fastballs, and he’s a guy that if you put him in that spot, he does it.”

Crosby quickly made Fisher look like a genius. In his first at-bat atop the order, Crosby singled, and a few minutes later he scored the Crabs’ first run in 18 innings on a Manny Ramirez, Jr. home run.

Crosby would proceed to pound out six hits in his first 10 at-bats as a leadoff man as the Crabs snapped out of their funk, beat the Gold Sox 5-1, and then swept their weekend opponent, the Auburn Wildcats, by a combined score of 22-5.

But by no means did Crosby do it alone. The entire team seemed to respond to a lecture from Fisher after losing their third straight last Tuesday.

“I don’ know if it’s anything I said, or if they just came to the realization that a 10-0 loss isn’t good enough,” said Fisher. “We don’t want to lose, especially 10-0 with a poor effort. I don’t mind losing, but you play hard. The effort wasn’t there.”

The offense, which had batted a paltry .168 during the losing streak, came to life, to the tune of a .290 average in building a four-game winning streak heading into their only road trip of the season.

On Wednesday, it was Ramirez’ first home that set the tone as the Crabs put together a tidy win against a tough Gold Sox team. On Friday, Crosby was the catalyst as the Crabs scored early and often in a 10-1 win over the Wildcats. On Saturday, E.J. Stanton — who is somewhat quietly the Crabs leader with a .395 average — drove in three runs in a 6-2 win.

Then on Sunday, with the Crabs looking to complete the sweep, Brandon Hunley, replaced Crosby in the leadoff spot, with Fisher hoping for the same result. Hunley delivered, with a big double in a four-run fourth inning on Sunday to complete the sweep, again by a score of 6-2.

The pitchers did their part as well. The starters, Jake Shull, Andrew Nelson, Dillon Houser and Zach Stone, all delivered solid outings of two or fewer earned runs. The bullpen did even better, putting up 13 2/3 innings of shutout ball over the four games.

“Guys are finally starting to gel,” said Fisher. “it took a little bit longer than we would have liked, but that’s the makeup of this group. I’m very happy that the guys are doing some things on their own, and starting to see Humboldt County and enjoy it.”

They won’t be seeing much of Humboldt County over the next week. They’ve embarked on a road trip that will take them to the Bay Area and then Redding, returning to the Arcata Ball Park on Tuesday, July 1. While they’re on the road you can catch them on KGOE 1480 AM or watch the humboldtcrabs.com UStream broadcast.

• Watch Crabs Corner every Sunday night on KIEM News. Ch.3 Sports

ROAD SCHEDULE: Catch the Crabs on Tuesday, June 24 vs. Walnut Creek Crawdads @ Laney College, 900 Fallon St. Oakland, 94607 at 5:30pm; Wednesday, June 25 vs Menlo Park Legends @ Palo Alto High School 50 Embarcadero Rd/El Camino Field off Churchill Ave/Castilleja Ave, Palo Alto, 94301 at 5pm; Thursday, June 26 vs Neptune Beach Pearl @ Laney College, 900 Fallon St., Oakland, 94607 at 6pm and Friday, June 27 thru Sunday, June 29 vs the Redding Colt 45s @ Tiger Field 1101 Parkview Ave Redding, 96001 at 7:15pm, 7:15pm and 6pm. 

Listen to the games on 1480 AM KGOE http://www.kgoe.com. For the Redding series, listen to Humboldt State graduate Nate Abaurrea on KCNR1460.com — the Redding Colt 45s broadcast.

Reality Check

The defending NBC World Series champion Seattle Studs rolled into Arcata and took two of three from the Crabs

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (June 15, 2014) — They may have been asking for it by bringing in the defending National Baseball Congress World Series champions, but the Crabs received a bit of a reality check this weekend, dropping two of three games against the Seattle Studs, ending the series with a disappointing one-hit performance as they were shut out for the first time this season, 9-0.

“They’re very, very good," Crabs manager Tyson Fisher said of the Studs. “They swing the bats well, they took advantage of every mistake that we made pitching, and they made us work for it. They’re not the national champion for no reason. …They find ways to put pressure on you and that’s exactly what they did (to us).”

Sunday’s game seemed doomed from the start as the visitors took a 2-0 lead without the benefit of a hit in the top of the first, thanks to a walk, an error on a sacrifice attempt, and an RBI-groundout. Then in the bottom of the inning, Alex Crosby hit a long fly ball to left that bounced off the top of the tall fence onto the freeway, but three feet foul.

That long strike would prove to be the best ball the Crabs hit all day against Studs starter Scott Kuzminsky and a trio of relievers. In fact, the only tally in the “H” column for the Crabs was an infield single that Crosby barely beat out in the fourth.

Meanwhile, the Studs just kept adding to their early lead, scoring in each of the first four frames. They added two more in the sixth, and cruised to an easy victory, taking the drama out of an otherwise splendid sunny Father’s Day afternoon before 1,547 at the Arcata Ball Park.

The weekend had started out well enough as the Crabs took the series opener 8-5. Andrew Nelson stifled the Studs over six innings on the mound. Morgan McCasland’s second homer of the year got the Crabs’ offense started, and a five-run third put the home team comfortably ahead. A four-run rally by the Studs in the eighth made things interesting, but the Crabs held on.

On Saturday, back-to-back homers by Brent Gillespie and Taylor Tempel gave the Crabs an early 2-1 lead, but they only seemed to jolt the Studs to life, as they racked up 11 runs on 16 hits. Gillespie hit another homer in the fourth, but that was all the Crabs would get until the ninth, when a four-run rally proved to be too little, too late.

Despite the disappointing result against Seattle, Fisher believes the weekend provided his team valuable early-season experience.

“We want to win the series, but playing three games against a team like this, I feel like it only makes us stronger for later on, and that’s going to be the message to the guys,” Fisher said. “We can handle this one of two ways: we can hang our heads about it, or we can bounce back on Tuesday and try to get better and learn from mistakes, and that way later on in the season we’re winning those games.”

They had better learn from those mistakes quickly, as their midweek opponents, the Marysville Gold Sox, with provide another tough test during what is probably the toughest portion of the 2014 schedule.

Healdsburg is quality, and then this weekend we had Seattle and they’re quality, and then youv’e got Marysville, and they’re quality,” said Fisher. “But we want to be one of those elite teams, so we’ve got to play those elite teams. We look forward to getting back to the ballpark on Tuesday and working hard.”

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