by Kevin Wyart
July 2, 2016
ARCATA — July 4th is still a couple of days away, but the fireworks were flying Saturday Night in the Crabs 2-0 loss to Top Speed Baseball at the Arcata Ball Park. In a game that featured two ejections and a shouting match that cleared the benches, the Crabs were unable to generate consistent offense behind a solid pitching performance from Aaron Herr.
Herr, who took the loss, went six innings and allowed only two runs (one earned) on two hits with six strikeouts and three walks. The only runs he allowed were on two unfortunate breaks that favored Top Speed.
In the Top of the fourth inning, Grant St. Martin walked with two outs and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With St. Martin at second, Matt Minnick lined a base hit into right field. Logan Busch charged it and instead of trying to throw out the runner at home, he went to first instead as Minnick took a wide turn and Newt Johnson tagged him for the third out.
It looked possible that Minnick was tagged out at first before St. Martin scored, which would have negated the run. Tyson Fisher came out and emphatically argued with home plate umpire Don Holfacker, who ruled that the run did score. Fisher was promptly ejected and Top Speed took a 1-0 lead.
Top Speed would score their second run in the fifth inning, as Chris Miguel led off with a walk and advanced to third on a wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt. Kyle Schmidt came up with two out and Miguel at third and hit a groundball deep in the hole at short. David Hamilton made a great stop, but his throw went wide of first base, allowing the run to score before he was tagged out trying to make it to second.
That would be the only offense generated by both teams as the Crabs scattered six hits, all of them singles. Top Speed starter Casey Brown was fantastic, going seven innings plus, allowing only five base hits while striking out eight and walking two. Mario Morales contributed two scoreless innings and picked up the save.
Things really got heated in the bottom of the eighth inning, however. With the bases loaded and two outs, the Crabs had their best chance to score of the evening. Logan Denholm popped the ball up and Top Speed first baseman Grant St. Martin came up to handle it, but had to stand in the basepath to do so. Denholm then collided with St. Martin and Denholm was called out for interference.
That’s when a few players on Top Speed stormed out of the dugout to confront Denholm and the Crabs responded with their benches clearing and eventually, every single player from both teams was on the field. There was a couple minutes of yelling and shouting, but no punches were thrown. Denholm was ejected for his collision, but no further disciplinary action was taken by the umpiring crew.
The Crabs and Top Speed Baseball will meet on Sunday afternoon for the rubber game of the three game series. Game time is at 12:30pm with gates opening at 11:30am. As with every Sunday afternoon game, kids are invited to run the bases after the final out.
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