July 12, 2015
ARCATA — As we head into the final few weeks of the Crabs season, Allen Smoot is putting together quite a case to be named the team’s 2015 Most Valuable Player.
Smoot has been solid the whole season, but lately, his numbers are just plain gaudy: From July 5 to 12, Smoot hit .720 (18-for-25) with 11 RBI, five runs and five doubles, sending his season average soaring above the .400 plateau.
“He puts a good swing on the ball,” manager Tyson Fisher said of Smoot. “He’s on time, more often than not, and when you swing the bat well it’s pretty fun as a hitter.”
And with Smoot leading the charge, the Crabs have put together a six-game win streak and sport a tidy 26-7 record.
Of course, it hasn’t been all Smoot, not even close. The Crabs are getting contributions from just about everyone during their current run. The offense has turned up the power to the tune of six homers in six games after amassing just seven in the first 27 games of the season. And the pitching is settling into a solid groove, allowing six TOTAL runs over the last 44 innings.
“There was a lot of good this weekend, all week long,” said Fisher. “The starting pitching’s been really, really good. I think that guys are starting to get their arms in shape, to where they can go deeper and deeper into ballgames.”
That run dates back to the second inning of the Crabs opener against the Alameda Merchants on Tuesday, July 7. The Merchants had scored four times in the first against Donald Robinson, but that would be all they would get in that game as Robinson and relievers Scott Parker and Tyler Bennett shut the Merchants down the rest of the way.
And the early 4-0 hole was quickly erased when Ben Petersen crushed a home run to left center with two on in the bottom of the first and Beau Bozett did the same with one on in the second. Petersen nearly hit another home run in the third but had to settle for an RBI-double off the wall. By the time the game was over, the Crabs had scored 13 unanswered runs and cruised to an easy win.
The next night, simply, was Andy Burschinger’s night. The big right-hander from Chico State spun up the team’s first complete game of the season, scattering seven hits, striking out eight and walking none in a 7-2 victory. A five-run fourth keyed by Brad Pluschkell’s first home run of the summer accounted for most of the Crabs’ offense.
On Friday, July 10, the Crabs welcomed the California Storm to town, though it may not have seemed a particularly warm welcome to the visitors. Drew Weston greeted them with seven strong innings of one-run ball. Smoot went 5-for-5, and was in the middle of every Crabs rally in a 5-1 win.
Saturday the 11th was Moustache Night, but it could have been called Offensive Fireworks Night. The Crabs hit season highs in both runs (15) and hits (22), and every starter had at least two hits in a 15-1 win. Almost lost in the outburst was another sterling start from Justin Mullins, who gave up just two hits in six innings.
On Sunday the 12th, Fisher decided to give the ball to Bennett, whose eight prior appearances all came out of the bullpen. Bennett made the move look like wise one, turning in an efficient five-inning performance. Only two Storm batters reached base, and both stalled at first.
“It was a good step for him,” said Fisher, who is starting to eye the postseason tournament as he juggles the arms at his disposal. “He wanted to go another one, but he threw 68 pitches in five innings, one-hit baseball, he did his job. He hadn’t gone that far in a long, long time.”
Bases-loaded hits by Petersen in the first and Smoot in the fourth provided most of the offense for the Crabs as they completed the sweep with a 7-2 win.
The Crabs continue down the home stretch this week with two games against Bercovich Baseball and then a weekend series against the Redding Colt 45s, against whom the Crabs took two of three in Redding last month. It's also Alumni Weekend, and they will be officially inducting the Hall of Fame Class of 2015 on Saturday before the game.
• Read Dante Geoffrey's article in the local newspaper about Sunday's game, click here.
• KIEM News Ch. 3's Crabs Corner, click here.