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.