ARCATA (June 7, 2015) – Cardiac Crabs has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
The Crabs finished the second weekend of their season with a perfect 7-0 record, thanks largely to their ability to come through in the clutch when trailing late. In three of their five wins last week, the Crabs trailed heading into the bottom of the eighth, only to rally with multiple runs to pull out the victory.
Quite an accomplishment for a group of guys who haven’t even known each other two weeks.
“I think it says a lot about the programs they come from, to begin with,” said Manager Tyson Fisher. “The groundwork for us has been laid, and I think that’s huge. These guys, sometimes they jell a lot earlier than expected and this is one of those groups. They come out and work hard every day – they beat the coaches to the ballpark – you can’t say enough about a group like that.”
On Tuesday against former Crab Alex Crosby and the Novato Knicks, Humboldt was down 5-4 when Ryan Dobson reached on an error, stole second and scored on a double by Allen Smoot. Smoot moved to third on a single by Jesse Medrano, and scored on a fielder’s choice by Beau Bozett to give the Crabs the lead for good. Bozett came in on a double by Dillon Kelley for the game’s final run in a 7-5 win.
After completing a two-game sweep the next night with a 4-2 victory the next night, the Crabs again found themselves trailing late in their opener against the California Expos, this time by a 3-1 score. Expos starter Hilario Tovar had suffocated the home team’s offense for six innings and left in a position to pick up the ‘W.’
But against reliever Tanner Irwin in the eighth, the Crabs’ bats finally work up. Medrano and Bozett both singled, and Dan Deely reached safely trying to sacrifice them along. Medrano scored the first run of the inning on a double play, but that left just one runner on base. However, Irwin couldn’t close out the inning, walking the next two Crabs batters to load the bases for big Bobby Schuman.
Schuman made Irwin pay for his lack of control, ripping a double just over the Expos’ right fielder, and just like that the Crabs led for the first time in the game. Austin Root came in for the ninth and was perfect to earn the save in a 4-3 win.
The next night was nearly a carbon copy. The Expos scored two unearned runs in the first while some fans were still looking for their seats, and added another in the third for a quick 3-0 lead. The Crabs got one back in the bottom of the third, but that was all the scoring in the game until, you guessed it, the bottom of the eighth.
Smoot led off the frame with a double, and would eventually score on an error that extended the inning. That error would be the Expos’ undoing. One batter later, with the bases loaded, Deely singled in the tying and go-ahead run. Kelley followed that up with a two-run knock of his own for a 6-3 lead. A potential seventh run was denied when Kelley was thrown out at home trying to score on a double by Blake Edmonson. Root pitched the ninth for his second straight save.
Perhaps tired of the dramatics, the Crabs jumped out to a big lead in Sunday’s series finale, scoring seven times in the second, but saw their lead immediately trimmed to 7-5 the very next half inning. The Expos closed the gap to just one run in the fourth, but that was as close as they would get, as Smoot doubled in two runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The Crabs bullpen, which has been stellar so far this season, shut the Expos down the rest of the way, combining for 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball.
“We had to use the bullpen a little bit more than we wanted to (on Sunday),” said Fisher. “Bursch (Andy Burschinger) got off to a pretty good start and then had that rough inning there, but the bullpen did a good job, like they’ve done all year, throwing strikes and pitching to contact, and let the defense make some plays behind them.”
After a day off Monday, the Crabs are back in action Tuesday and Wednesday against Seals Baseball, and then welcome in the Seattle Studs over the weekend.