Costly defensive miscues and a lack of clutch hitting sent the top-seeded Humboldt Crabs into the loser's bracket on the opening day of the Far West League Championship tournament on Friday.
A first-inning throwing error by Trent Goodrich allowed the Menlo Park Legends' Dane Vande Guchte to score an unearned run for a 1-0 lead. Then, with the score tied 1-1 in the eighth, bobbled grounders by both Goodrich and Cullen Hendrickson gave the Legends another unearned run, enough for a 2-1 victory.
The Crabs outhit the Legends 8-5, but they couldn't get the big hit at the right moment against Andrew Herrera, who wasn't overpowering, but kept the Crabs' hitters off-balance all night, consistently closing the door on Crabs' threats. As a result, Drew Bradshaw's solid outing went for naught.
The Crabs will look to stay alive tonight at 7:30 against the California Warriors, who dropped the tournament opener 8-6 against Top Speed Baseball. Top Speed built an early 4-0 lead, stretched it to 8-2 in the seventh, and then survived a four-run rally in the Warriors' ninth that saw the tying run stranded at second base.
By virtue of their opening victories, the Legends and Top Speed will face off in the winner's bracket game today at 3:00. The winner will advance to the championship on Sunday at 1:30 p.m., and the loser will play the winner of tonight's Crabs-Warriors game Sunday at 10 a.m. The Crabs-Warriors loser will be eliminated.