ARCATA (June 10) — With their roster getting closer and closer to being fully here, the Humboldt Crabs took three-of-four from the visiting Healdsburg Prune Packers over the course of a beautiful June weekend at the Arcata Ball Park. They won the opener 4-2 on Friday, then dropped the first game of Saturday's doubleheader 5-4 before unleashing the offense in a pair of mercy-rule wins in Saturday's nightcap and Sunday's series final, 10-0 and 13-3.
"I liked it," said Crabs manager Matt Nutter. "We're starting to gel a little bit, starting to get guys in, and except for the one game we dropped I thought we played well."
Nutter was particularly please to see the Crabs' offense get untracked in the final two games.
"We were a little slow out of the box early, but came on there in the last two games and hit the ball really well," he said.
The Crabs started off Friday's night game with a trio of errors, handing a pair of unearned runs to Healdsburg in the top of the 1st inning. The newly-arrived infielders booted some easy ground balls to open up the door to the visiting Prune Packers. All of the infielders with errors were in their first game in a Crabs uniform and seemed to feel the pressure a bit. The Crabs answered back with a run of their own in the bottom of the 1st inning.
The Crabs gathered their nerves and shutdown the Packers offense for the rest of the game. Humboldt added one run at a time in the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 7th innings to beat the Prune Packers 4-2 in the first game of the weekend series.
The winning pitcher for the Crabs, with a complete game victory, was Drew Bradshaw. Bradshaw went nine innings with three hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts.
The losing pitcher for the Prune Packers was Peter Thorson. Thorson went eight innings, allowing four runs on six hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
Leading the offense for Humboldt was Chris Akmon, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Healdsburg was led by Francis Griffin, who went 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base.
The opening of Saturday's doubleheader was scoreless thru the first three innings. In the top of the 4th inning Healdsburg plated a single run. Humboldt quickly responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. The Crabs tacked on another run in the 7th inning, but allowed three runs to the Prune Packers in the top of the 8th and a single run in the top of the 9th. Humboldt was able to score a single run in the bottom of the 9th inning but fell a run short on the right-field scoreboard.
The losing pitcher for the Crabs was reliever Connor Chick, who gave up four runs on five hits with three walks and a strikeout. The Crabs starter, Brian Bynum, went seven innings allowing one run on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Winning pitcher for the Prune Packers was Devin Breining. He pitched one inning with one strikeout. The Packers starter, Cameron Mayville, went six innings giving up three runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts.
Healdsburg's offense was led by Kevin Castillo who went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a walk. The Prune Packers defense was led by catcher, Elliot North. North gunned down three consecutive steal attempts in the game and none of the calls were even close.
Humboldt's offensive leaders were Caleb Wood and Zack McCoy. Wood went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and was caught stealing. McCoy went 3-for-4 and scored three out of the team's four runs in the ball game.
The nightcap of the double-header was not as exciting as the previous game had been, but it ended with a bang.
The Crabs jumped on the Prune Packers early by scuffing up starting pitcher Andre Holmes for six runs on five hits and four walks in two and a third innings. The Prune Packers continued to walk batters after Holmes' exit and soon found themselves sinking against the Crabs.
Crabs starting pitcher, Chad Hodges, went all five innings allowing no runs on two hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. The 2nd game of this double-header was only scheduled for seven innings, which is why the 10-run rule was called in the 5th inning.
The night was capped by the most exciting play of the four game series in the bottom of the 5th inning. Jeremie Fagnan came to the plate with a man on and blasted a ball well beyond the right-field fence on a night where the breeze was blowing straight in from right-center. The homer was the first of the Crabs 69th season.
For the Prune Packers, the problems began before the ceremonial first pitch. Their slated starting pitcher was scratched due to rotator cuff issues when he was warming up. Healdsburg had to start the game with their already exhausted bullpen taking the mound. They quickly allowed three hits and six walks in the 1st inning which plated six runs for the Crabs. Humboldt only needed to hold steady to all but lock up the series with three wins and one loss.
Healdsburg fired back with runs in the 3rd and 4th innings but they were only able to muster three runs in those innings. Humboldt finished strong with two runs in the 6th, two runs in the 7th, and three runs in the eighth to seal a 10-run victory yet again.
Healdsburg was led on offense by lead-off man Marty Greinke, who went 2-for-4. Losing pitcher for the Prune Packers was Matt Wheeler with less then an inning under his belt.
Humboldt was led on offense by Pete Miller and Nick Minteer. They combined to go 5-for-8 with five runs, one RBI, and two walks. The winning pitcher for the Crabs was Johnny Melero with seven innings allowing seven hits resulting in three runs with two walks and two strikeouts.
The Crabs want to thank the Prune Packers for being such a class act on the field and in the stands. It was an honor for all involved to host a team with such great sportsmanship. Healdsburg even hung around post-game to high-five a couple hundred kids as they ran the bases at the conclusion of Sunday's game.