Mad River Union
ARCATA – At 9:36 p.m. on Saturday night at the Arcata Ball Park, the world still turned. There were no rifts tearing apart the space-time continuum, no riots in the streets, no zombie apocalypse which brought the dead back to life by some highly unusual occurrence, but there was a highly unusual loss by the mighty Humboldt Crabs, who had fallen to the West Coast Kings by a score of 7-5.
These guys just don’t seem to lose very often. By Saturday night they had only let 5 games get away from their iron-clad winning hands and had been flat out whomping their opponents by 10 runs or more on a regular basis.
They started out the week doing just that. They administered two whompings to the Payson Cowboys on Tuesday and Wednesday nights by scores of 10-3, and 12-1.
Will Springer pitched them to the win Tuesday night, announcing his presence with authority by striking out 10 Cowboy batters over his 6 innings. Not only were Cowboys smote by strikeouts, but home runs were also crushed that night, Andrew Allanson and Ethan Smith both contributing one each.
More strikeouts (7 by Crabs starter Adam Walker,) more runs, more whomping ensued Wednesday night as the Crabs rolled on to another win and improved their record to 25 wins and only five losses going into the weekend.
There was no indication that the weekend would be any different as the Crabs hosted the West Coast Kings and jumped out to a three run lead in the second inning on Friday night. But then the unlikely started occurring; the Kings gradually, and over three innings scrapped their way back into the game, eventually achieving a one run lead in the sixth inning.
I don’t know if it could be considered “helping” the Crabs, but Kings pitchers hit three Crabs batters in the bottom of the sixth and the home team was able to score two runs on ground balls in the infield. Add another RBI by Eureka High School graduate Ethan Fischel and the Crabs took the lead right back and shut the door, winning the game 6-4.
But the West Coast Kings took the game on Saturday night holding a four-run lead most of the game and stymying the previously supernatural Crabs offense to one run. That is until the eighth inning when the Crabs started clawing their way back into contention.
Perhaps sensing they were in danger of actually… losing, the Crabs players became more vocal, the players on the bench standing outside the dugout and cheering on their teammates on the field. And it seemed to be working as they scored two runs in both the 8th and 9th innings closing the gap to a score of 7-5.
But The Kings had a secret weapon by the name of Jake Gebb, a lefty side-arm hurler. Gebb, may have surrendered some runs and almost lost the game but his Michael Jacksonesque pre-pitch set up routine was nothing short of notable. He stood on the mound and flicked his shoulders and then shot out his right hand (the one with the glove), toward home plate and back to his body in a lightning fast motion before each pitch. He then delivered with a side arm throw that almost seemed underhanded. As the Crabs got closer, the Kings showed faith in him by not having any pitchers warm up in the bullpen. He rewarded them by holding on and winning the game.
There was no band in attendance to see the Crabs lose the game Saturday night but they were back on Sunday bringing what tuba player and facilitator Gordon Johnson said is “one half of one percent of positive chi.”
And maybe that would be all the Crabs would need on Sunday as Owen Stevenson pitched six beautiful innings and they got back to their winning ways and took the game 6-0.
So as it stands the Crabs record is an impressive 26 wins and six losses. After two games against the Redding Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday night they’re set to host TKB Baseball for three games starting Friday night.