While it may have taken a bit longer for the Crabs to break the seal than the boisterous opening night crowd might have liked, once they did, they couldn’t be stopped.
“We had some great pitching, starting and the bullpen,” said second-year manager Tyson Fisher. “And we got some timely hits. We did a lot that I was impressed with.”
The solid pitching is why the Crabs were only down 1-0 after five innings in the opener. Drew Weston yielded just one second-inning run while striking out eight over five innings.
The Crabs finally got on the board with two outs in the sixth. Dillon Kelley singled in Nick Spini, who had walked, to tie the game. Two batters later, with the bases full of crustaceans, Jesse Medrano smacked one to right, out of the reach of the right fielder for a bases-clearing double and a 4-1 lead.
That opened the floodgates, as the Crabs put up three-spots in both the seventh and eighth. And the bullpen snuffed any thought of an Indians comeback, as Andy Burschinger and Mack Boone combined for four innings of no-hit relief.
The next morning the team picked up right where it left off, quickly building a 5-0 lead in the first three innings via an opportunistic offense (five runs on just three hits) and another strong starting pitching performance by Grant Kukac (seven strikeouts and just three hits over five innings).
The Indians started to claw back into it with runs in the fourth and sixth, but a potential rally died when the Crabs were credited with an unusual double play. Fairfield’s Antonio Nobriga was ruled to have illegally taken out Medrano at second base as Medrano tried to turn the relay, and a dangerous situation was suddenly diffused.
Beau Bozett built on that momentum swing in the seventh, smashing an inside-the-park, two-run homer out near the 394 sign to re-establish the five-run lead.
“I think I closed my eyes and swung as hard as I can, and it found a hole,” said Bozett after the game, recalling the last player to hit an inside-the-park job for the Crabs, Morgan McCasland last year – to around the same spot. “I’m trying to follow in McCasland’s footsteps, he hit a lot of bombs last year.”
The celebration of the moment of the season’s first home run was subdued due to the fact that Fairfield center fielder Timmion Hughes had crashed hard into the outfield wall on the play and remained down for a few anxious moments before walking off the field under his own power.
Overall, Fisher was pleased with how the team opened up the 2015 season.
“I really like this group, they’re a good group of kids,” he said, “They’re having a lot of fun out there, and not only that, they’re pretty good baseball players on top of that, so I think it was a successful first weekend.”
• For Stats from the weekend series, visit: https://humboldtcrabs.com/stats
• For the local newspaper's article, visit: http://www.times-standard.com/sports/20150531/summer-baseball-crabs-sweep-the-weekend-with-7-2-win
• For Crab Casts, to hear the games streamed online, visit: http://www.audiosportsonline.net/2015spring/humboldt/
Next up: The Novato Knicks come to town for a 2-game series Tuesday, June 2 at 7pm and Wednesday, June 3 at 7pm. Tuesday is FREE! MLB babeball card night for the first 200 kids. The Crab Grass Band plays on Wednesday night.