This weekend the Humboldt Crabs welcomed the Neptune Beach Pearl for a four game series at the Arcata Ballpark. The series was book-ended by a pair of serious Far West League contests with the outcome in doubt until the very end. The games on Saturday lacked the drama that Friday and Sunday had, but the end result was the same, as the Crabs swept the four-game series.
The Pearl and Crabs both went scoreless through the first two innings. In the 3rd, Neptune Beach hung three on the board and held Humboldt scoreless until the 5th. Crabs scored one in the 4th and two in the 5th to tie up the score after six innings were completed. neither team scored in the 6th or 7th innings. The Crabs scored a pair of runs in the 8th to take a lead into the top of the 9th. In the 9th the Pearl were able to plate a run, but Neptune Beach was still a run down when they got their third out of the inning.
The Crabs winning pitcher, Jacob Coats, came out of the bullpen and collected a meaningful victory in the process. Coats went an inning and a third, not allowing a hit or a walk while on the mound. Leading the Crabs offensively was, leadoff man, Kyle Moses. Moses went 1-for-1 with two walks and a triple.
The losing pitcher for the Pearl was John Williamson. Leading Neptune Beach on offense was also the leadoff batter, Derek Nakasato. Nakasato went 2-for-5 with an RBI.
The Saturday early game of the doubleheader was less than impressive. The game was interesting and exciting thru five innings with a score of 3-to-3. In the sixth the Crabs knocked in four runs and tacked on another eight runs in the 7th inning to put the win beyond the reach of Neptune Beach.
Bryan Bynum was the winning pitcher for the Crabs. Bynum went six innings giving up three runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Cameron Olson led the offense by going 2-for-2 with five RBIs and two walks. One of Olson's two hits was a mammoth grand slam to straight-away center, it was his second homerun of the season.
Jake Andrews collected a loss for the visiting Pearl. Andrew went five and two-thirds innings while giving up seven runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout. The relief pitchers for the Pearl walked people left and right and made life difficult for his fielders. The bats were cold for most of the day but the offense was led by John Williamson. Williamson went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a strikeout. His RBI came on a solo homerun.
The late game on Saturday was a slow-moving affair without a lot of intensity. The weather was good, but the baseball was not scintillating. The Crabs took a four run lead in the bottom of the 1st inning and never looked back on their way to a short-game victory over the Pearl.
Chad Hodges was the winning pitcher for Humboldt. Hodges gave up three runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts. The Crabs busted out early on the Pearl and were led by Kyle Moses, yet again. Moses went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Jacob Valdez picked up the loss for the visiting Pearl. Valdez went only two and two-thirds innings and gave up six runs on two hits and five walks. The offense was led by Derek Nakasato who went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk.
The final game of this four game series was, by far, the most intriguing. There were ups and downs for both teams as well as a couple web gems and a heap of errors on both sides. Neither team seemed to be on their defensive A-game, but the bats had been properly warmed up. It was such an evenly matched game that it carried into the 10th inning to decide the victor.
Offensively the Crabs were led by Sergio Sanchez and Kyle Moses. Sanchez went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, courtesy of a behemoth blast onto Highway 101. Kyle Moses went 3-for-4 with an RBI and his tenth stolen base of the season. Moses also started the 10th inning with a drive down the left-field line that was stretched into a double. In the 10th with two outs, Moses scored the winning run on a wild pitch to clinch the sweep for the Crabs. The winning pitcher for the Crabs was Jacob Coats, who came in to close a hard-fought battle. The starting pitcher, Johnny Melero, went five and one-third innings giving up six runs on eight hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts.
The Pearl offense was led by Andrew Pitsch and Myles Babitt. Pitsch went 1-for-4 with four RBIs and a walk. His one hit was another blast onto Highway 101.Babitt went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a walk. The starting pitcher for Neptune Beach was Trent Shelton who went six and a third innings surrendering seven runs on eleven hits while allowing four walks along with three strikeouts.
The Crabs are now in second place in the Far West League, but have a bunch of league games remaining. After the weekend series the Crabs are 17-3 (7-1 FWL). The next series on the schedule will be against the Marysville Goldsox on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. On Wednesday it will be cowbell night out at the ballpark, so be sure to show up early and make some noise for the Crabs!