Sports

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Crabs Stay Hot With Combined No-Hitter

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2022 at 5:50 PM

The Humboldt Crabs put together yet another dominating week in the season as both the pitching staff and lineup were firing in all cylinders. The weekend was highlighted by a combined no-hitter from Crabs pitchers Nick Perryman and Eureka local Garrison Finck, which came not even a week after Caleb Ruiz threw his own complete game shutout.


Pitching has been a strong point for the Crabs for much of the season and with a deep bullpen to pull from in games, there is always a fresh arm waiting in the wings to close the door if needed. The Crabs pitching staff gave up only 10 runs in five games while the offense combined for 46 runs which allowed them to win all but one game.


The week started with a two-game series against Medford Rogues, which had also spent the previous weekend in Arcata playing the West Coast Kings team in town to face the Crabs. Tyler Davis led the way for the offense on Tuesday night against the Rogues, hitting a two-run home run in the first inning before and followed it up with a triple in the third and a solo home run in the eighth inning as well.

Crabs catcher Tyler Davis heads back into the dugout between innings on July 24 while facing the Fairfield Indians. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs catcher Tyler Davis heads back into the dugout between innings on July 24 while facing the Fairfield Indians.

While talking about timely hitting and capitalizing on offensive situations, Crabs Manager Robin Guiver praised the team’s ability to bring runners in more consistently, pointing to Davis’ hitting as a prime example.


“We’ve had some clutch moments for sure where we’ve been able to cash in,” Guiver said following Sunday’s game. “Earlier this season we were leaving a lot of guys on base. Every game we’d go and look at the box scores after and have 17, 18, 19 guys left on base. Which is good because it means we’re getting guys on base. But we’ve got to cash in and we’ve been doing a better job of that lately. Tyler Davis has just been an RBI machine for us, he cashes in. He had one where he didn’t today and it’s like the first time that he hasn’t cashed in in a long time with a runner on third and one out. He’s human but he's got 40-something RBIs, so he’s been awesome.”


With Davis and the rest of the Crabs' offense taking care of business at the plate, it gave plenty of breathing room for regular Tuesday starter Marcelo Saldana to do what he has done best this season and shut the game down. Through seven innings of work, Saldana struck out nine batters while only allowing three hits and one walk. From there, Drew Woody finished the job for the last two innings, only giving up one run to seal the Crabs’ victory 10-1.

Crabs pitcher Marcelo Saldana prepares to throw a pitch in the bullpen before the start of the Crabs' game on July 24. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Marcelo Saldana prepares to throw a pitch in the bullpen before the start of the Crabs' game on July 24.

Wednesday was a somewhat frustrating game for the Crabs as they battled an early 2-0 Medford lead and while they clawed a run back in the second inning, would ultimately fall short 3-2. While starting pitcher Ethan Brodsky gave up only two runs on three hits while striking out seven batters, the Crabs struggled offensively, stranding eight runners on base even while Davis had four stolen bases on the night.


The weekend would prove to go more smoothly for the Crabs, according to the final score scores. Friday’s game against the visiting Fairfield Indians was a close affair initially with Fairfield taking the lead in the fourth inning before the two teams traded single run innings up to the sixth frame where the Crabs strung together four runs. They scored another four in the next inning before getting another two runs off of AJ Esperanza’s second home run of the night and ultimately won 13-3.

Crabs catcher AJ Esperanza into home plate to score during the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 23. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs catcher AJ Esperanza into home plate to score during the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 23.

Esperanza has been one of the most effective Crabs batters over the course of the last week, hitting .333 over 14 plate appearances and maintaining the same average with runners in scoring position. His two home runs on the week bring him up to a total of four which puts him second on the team behind only Davis who has seven.


“I feel like I’m figuring it out a little bit in the second half of the season,” Esperanza said. “Just trying to really shorten my swing, stay within myself and go after good pitchers and I was able to do that a couple times.”


Esperanza says that he has been enjoying the atmosphere of playing in Arcata Ballpark as well as working with his teammates to help each other improve on the field as the season has gone on.


“It’s so fun,” Esperanza said. “I just feel so lucky to be able to play with this crowd on this team. It’s a super special environment. The teammates are great. Everyone is helping everyone out and it’s just been an awesome summer.”

Crabs catcher AJ Esperanza gets set to catch a pitch in the bullpen before the start of the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 23. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs catcher AJ Esperanza gets set to catch a pitch in the bullpen before the start of the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 23.

Along with his offensive output, Esperanza has also been a big part of the Crabs' defensive strengths behind the plate as one of the Crabs’ three primary catchers this season working with the bullpen staff.


“It’s been great just trying to sort of learn about all our pitchers,” Esperanza said. “Build those relationships and work with those guys to help them bring out their best game. And we’ve had some success, it’s been fun to catch a lot of these guys. We’ve got a lot of talented arms.”


Saturday night was another night for the pitchers to be proud of this season as Perryman and Finck combined to lock the Fairfield offense out of the game with a no-hitter. The two pitchers each struck out seven batters for a combined 14 over nine innings with the only traffic on the basepaths coming from a handful of walks.

Crabs pitcher Nick Perryman throws a pitch against the Fairfield Indians on the way to a combined no-hitter on July 23. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Nick Perryman throws a pitch against the Fairfield Indians on the way to a combined no-hitter on July 23.

The 15-0 final result was the sixth shutout for the Crabs this season and a welcome "bounce-back" game for Perryman, who started the game, after an outing last week where he didn’t allow a run but wasn’t fully satisfied with his own performance.


“Yesterday was definitely a good feeling to have a bounce-back start,” Perryman said after Sunday’s game. “My previous two or three, they weren’t bad but they weren’t what I want out of myself, you know? I hold myself to a higher standard. So yesterday was just a big day for me, a confidence booster. The game plan going into that start was just to get ahead early and be efficient and I was able to do that yesterday.”


For Perryman, the prospect of a no-hitter was on his mind less than his approach to each at bat where he aimed to be aggressive and execute on the game plan that he established prior to the start.

“The only thing I try to think about is ‘be aggressive, attack and just get ahead,’” Perryman said. “If I can get ahead it’ll be my game and I’ll just let them hit the ball and let my defense work for me, we have a great defense out here.”

Crabs pitcher Garrison Finck walks beside the dugout before the start of the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 20. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Garrison Finck walks beside the dugout before the start of the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 20.

Even when Perryman handed the ball over to Finck, he was confident in his fellow pitcher’s abilities and praised his efficiency and effectiveness on the mound to close out the game through the remaining four innings.


“He’s a strike thrower and he just got in the zone, got in a good groove and he didn’t let up,” Perryman said. “From pitch one to his last one. I think he threw 40 pitches in four innings. That’s called being efficient right there. That’s how you do it. And he was all over the zone, he filled it up and was great.”


On Sunday, the Crabs took the lead in the first inning but it was by no means comfortable as Fairfield came back and scored three runs of their own to take the lead briefly before the Crabs lineup responded in kind with three more runs of their own to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the second inning. The Crabs held onto that one-run lead for three innings while Sunday starter Ruiz was forced to work significantly harder this week than he did a week before during his shutout. Relief finally came for the Crabs in the sixth inning when Drew Porter hit an RBI double to extend the lead, followed by a Jackson Giacone RBI single to score Colby Lunsford, who made his way from first to third base after a single and currently leads the team with 19 stolen bases. The Crabs took the win with a final score of 6-3 to close out the week and bring their current record to 26-10 on the season.

Crabs pitcher Drew Woody (Left) and Andrew LaCour (Right) head back to the dugout after Woody completes an inning of work against the Fairfield Indians on July 24. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Drew Woody (Left) and Andrew LaCour (Right) head back to the dugout after Woody completes an inning of work against the Fairfield Indians on July 24.

Guiver was complimentary of his team’s pitching staff after a couple of particularly strong weeks for the Crabs bullpen and noted how even when guys have an off day they are able to keep games competitive and allow the Crabs to challenge for the win.


“They’ve been doing really well,” Guiver said after Sunday’s game. “Caleb [Ruiz] looked a little tired today, honestly, he threw a lot of pitches. Last Sunday he went nine innings in a 2-0 game and we had to ride him hard and he’s definitely looking a little tired today. But he still grinded through five innings and kept it down so we’ll take it. Drew Woody came and did a real nice job today too. Yesterday’s no-hitter was pretty sweet. A good start by [Nick] Perryman, got his pitch count up a little bit so we had to get him out of there. And Garrison Finck came in and did a great job pounding the strike zone.”

Crabs second baseman Nick Leehey celebrated with teammates on the way back the dugout after rounding the bases by hitting a double then reaching home on an error on the night that the Crabs celebrated 'Christmas in July' on July 23. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs second baseman Nick Leehey celebrated with teammates on the way back the dugout after rounding the bases by hitting a double then reaching home on an error on the night that the Crabs celebrated 'Christmas in July' on July 23.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Crabs Deal With COVID Curveball and Come Back Swinging

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2022 at 5:25 PM

It was another winning week of Humboldt Crabs baseball but the team had to fight through some adversity to make that happen as multiple players and coaches were taken out of action with COVID-19 in the middle of the week. Despite personnel losses, the Crabs only dropped one game as team members made their way back into the dugout and showed resilience even without many of their position players being available.


The week began with a two game series against the Redding Tigers that saw the Crabs open with a 5-2 victory behind starting pitcher Marcelo Saldana. Saldana has been one of the most reliable arms for the Crabs this summer, throwing for five strikeouts in six innings of work while allowing only three hits on Tuesday evening. Saldana also sits second on the team in innings pitched with 29.2 as well as second in wins with four and a 2.73 ERA following the weekend.

Crabs pitcher Marcelo Saldana sits in the Crabs dugout prior to the start of the Humboldt Crabs' game against the Redding Tigers on July 13. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Marcelo Saldana sits in the Crabs dugout prior to the start of the Humboldt Crabs' game against the Redding Tigers on July 13.

For Saldana, it’s been an enjoyable summer playing for the Crabs, pointing to the positive energy among the team and the support from the local fans.


“It’s honestly great to be out here,” Saldana said after Sunday’s game. “I love the energy that all the fans have. All the players coming together. As soon as we got here, we were a family. Once a Crab, always a Crab. It’s amazing to be out here and I feel like it just brings a good vibe. Easy, loose on the mound, throwing strikes, letting my defense work.”


The Crabs lost both their next game against the Tigers and their 11-game winning streak on Wednesday after falling behind early in the second inning and then were unable to get the offense firing as effectively as they have previously in the season.

Making things even more difficult for the second game against the Tigers were the team members missing from the Crabs' dugout, including Manager Robin Guiver who was not able to return to action until Sunday after testing positive. Aside from the players who took to the field Wednesday evening, only Javier Felix was available on the bench while Jordan Petrushka was also at the ballpark but resting a minor injury and so assumed first base coach duties for the night.

Crabs manager Robin Guiver walks toward the dugout in his first game back after testing positive for COVID during the Crabs game against the West Coast Kings on July 17. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs manager Robin Guiver walks toward the dugout in his first game back after testing positive for COVID during the Crabs game against the West Coast Kings on July 17.

After working through some adversity, Guiver was pleased with how the team played and how the other coaches handled the situation and said that he kept up with games even while away from the field by watching the broadcasts that the team livestreams.


“We had four players that missed a significant amount of time,” Guiver said following Sunday’s game. “We had two coaches, two trainers, some ballpark staff and some board members [out with COVID], so we definitely were a little bit of a skeleton crew for some of those games and we did a really good job the last five days. I’ve been watching them on TV and I liked what I saw. I think Coach [Eric] Giacone and Coach [John] Bryant stepped up really well. Their positions changed a little bit and I’m happy with the way the guys played and glad to be back out here.”


For Saldana, the way the Crabs played while down on players was an example of how well the team has played all season.


“It just describes the Crabs as a whole,” Saldana said. “We have guys on the bench that can do the same thing as the guys that are out on the field, we’re a talented group. We were short this weekend a little bit with guys but we still managed to get the job done and figure it out.”

Crabs shortstop Anthony Karagianopoulos makes a play on a ground ball while facing the West Coast Kings on July 16. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs shortstop Anthony Karagianopoulos makes a play on a ground ball while facing the West Coast Kings on July 16.

By Friday the Crabs were a much more complete team once again to start their series against the West Coast Kings. That proved valuable in the first game against the Kings in which the Crabs scored early, tallying runs in the second, third and fourth innings to lead 3-0 up until the eighth inning where a costly error allowed the Kings to score three runs of their own. It would take extra innings to settle the game after it got tied up, with the Crabs taking advantage of two timely walks to Aaron Perez and then Cameron Saso, which gave Cary Arbolida a runner in scoring position to walk off the game with a clutch single giving the Crabs their first extra innings win of the season.


Saturday’s game went more smoothly for the Crabs as they racked up eight runs and the pitching staff threw a strong game to lock the Kings out and take the win 8-0. Nick Perryman took the start for the Crabs and worked though four innings while dealing with pressure on the basepaths before handing the ball over to Andrew LaCour, Hayden Bode and Saso, who each allowed only one hit. Tyler Davis led the way for the offense, putting up three RBIs, including a home run in the bottom of the first inning that shot over the right field fence. Arbolida also featured in the game through his defense making a play in shallow right field before making a perfect throw over to first base for a double play on the Kings baserunner who couldn’t scramble back in time.

Crabs catcher Tyler Davis celebrates as he crosses home plate after hitting a home run as the Humboldt Crabs take on the West Coast Kings on July 16. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs catcher Tyler Davis celebrates as he crosses home plate after hitting a home run as the Humboldt Crabs take on the West Coast Kings on July 16.

Sunday was a rare treat for fans in attendance as they had the opportunity to see a 100 pitch complete game shutout thrown by Eureka local Caleb Ruiz who was absolutely dominant on the mound. The Crabs struck early in the bottom of the first inning as Davis once again got things rolling with a two RBI single. That would prove to be all the offense that Ruiz and the Crabs needed as Ruiz worked out after out, looking loose but composed on the bump. Ruiz was perfect through four innings of work and only allowed two hits through the entire game while striking out nine Kings batters.

Crabs pitcher Caleb Ruiz walks back into the dugout after completing an inning of work to start a 2-0 complete game shutout against the West Coast Kings on July 17. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Caleb Ruiz walks back into the dugout after completing an inning of work to start a 2-0 complete game shutout against the West Coast Kings on July 17.

“We went and talked to him after the eighth inning and we had initially kind of talked about making a move and going to Drew Woody,” Guiver said after the game. “And he was just pumping strikes, his pitch count was really good and it just didn’t make sense to [take him out]. If we had one baserunner he was coming out, so it was up to him to keep himself in the game. He just pounded the strike zone, he’s been doing it all summer. He’s been definitely one of our top couple pitchers all summer and continuing to do that today was awesome to see.”


With the sweep of the Kings, the Crabs record on the season moved up to 22-9 but it was a bittersweet end to the week as the Crabs also said goodbye to Cary Arbolida early as the well-liked outfielder is set to enjoy some time at home before reporting to his new college team at University of Houston. Arbolida has enjoyed a successful season with the Crabs, batting .284 while having a .437 on-base percentage and 19 RBIs with three home runs and leading the team with 23 walks.


“It’s been fun, first game started out hot with Caleb on the mound and then last game here Caleb on the mound again with a shutout,” Arbolida said after Sunday’s game. “It’s just been fun. Great team, a lot of wins. A lot of good hitting and pitching this summer.”

Crabs outfielder Cary Arbolida stands in the on-deck circle before taking an at-bat against the West Coast Kings during his last game for the Crabs on July 17. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs outfielder Cary Arbolida stands in the on-deck circle before taking an at-bat against the West Coast Kings during his last game for the Crabs on July 17.

As well as the play on the field, Arbolida also talked about how well the team as a whole has come together and been enjoyable to play with.


“It was really easy to gel,” Arbolida said. “We’ve got Javy [Felix], the big guy who gets everyone to gel together. No groups, no rough spots with the team. Everyone is based like a team; you’re at school again. Like you’ve been playing with each other for a long time. It’s just a great group of guys this year.”


Saldana who has gotten to see Arbolida’s work from on the pitchers mound and in the dugout on his off days is sad to see Arbolida go but expressed how happy he was with playing with him this season.


“I love Cary,” Saldana said. “It sucks that he’s leaving. It’s been a pleasure with him but he has to go onto his next bigger things, down to Houston. So that will be exciting for him.”


Guiver knew coming into the season that Arbolida would have to leave the team early and was also complimentary of the star outfielder while discussing his play this season and how he, too, will miss having him for the rest of the schedule.


“That guy hit two home runs opening night and has kind of been a leader for us the rest of the summer,” Guiver said. “He’s got a winning mentality. Plays real hard all the time. Plays a great outfield, has probably the best arm on our team and he’s a middle of the lineup guy. It’s going to be hard to replace him for the last few weeks but we’ve got guys that will step up and do it. We’ll miss having him for sure, but it’s been a pleasure having him as long as we have.”

Crabs pitcher Caleb Ruiz walks toward home plate while checking over his shoulder as outfielder Cary Arbolida makes the final out of a 2-0 complete game shutout against the West Coast Kings on July 17. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Caleb Ruiz walks toward home plate while checking over his shoulder as outfielder Cary Arbolida makes the final out of a 2-0 complete game shutout against the West Coast Kings on July 17.


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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Senator McGuire Announces $1 Million Investment in Arcata Ballpark

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2022 at 1:55 PM

California state Sen. Mike McGuire announces a $1 million investment from the state of California into Arcata Ballpark while on the field at the ballpark prior to the start of the game on July 6, 2022. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • California state Sen. Mike McGuire announces a $1 million investment from the state of California into Arcata Ballpark while on the field at the ballpark prior to the start of the game on July 6, 2022.

Prior to Wednesday night’s Crabs game, state Sen. Mike McGuire announced  the state of California is investing $1 million into the Arcata Ballpark.

McGuire told the crowd that the funds would be used to update disability access, construct a new plaza in front of the ballpark and to build a new facade.


After receiving the ceremonial check from McGuire, David Sharp, president of the Crabs Board, thanked the senator and addressed the fans, saying conversations around this announcement began last year.


“About a year ago, Mike and I had a conversation out there behind the facade in front of the front entrance there at the plaza,” Sharp said. “It was a conversation about the Crabs and stories, but one really of our fans and the impact on the community that this organization has. And how we always say that we’re a fan-based , fan-owned organization. And how cool is that? That this $1 million check is going back to you guys.”


After the announcement, McGuire spoke in more detail about the decision.


“It’s almost been 80 years that the Crabs have been playing here in Humboldt County,” McGuire said. “And the stadium needs a little bit of love. So last year we started conversations with the Humboldt Crabs organization as well as the city of Arcata… on what type of enhancements are needed."


McGuire described a three-point plan that was discussed between the state, the Humboldt Crabs and the city of Arcata, which owns the ballpark.


“No. 1, enhanced disability access all throughout the ballpark. No. 2, a brand new front facade for the front of the ballpark, to be able to match the look of downtown Arcata," he said. "No. 3, there is going to be a brand new grand Crabs plaza as folks come in and exit the stadium.”


McGuire also said the hope is to begin construction in the near future as well as stating that funding for the upgrades is a combined effort between the state, city, and Crabs organization.


“We’re hoping to get kicked off here in the next 12 to 24 months,” McGuire said. “And this is also a financial partnership. So the state is going to invest $1 million, the Crabs are setting aside funding and the city of Arcata will also be pitching in as well.”


Arcata Mayor Stacy Atkins-Salazar was also on hand at the announcement to address the crowd and publicly thanked McGuire.


“This ballpark really is the gem of the downtown,” Atkins-Salazar said. “And to see this investment into our community, especially as we’re coming out of COVID, supports not only the Crabs team, but our business communities as well.”

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Wednesday, June 15, 2022

A Winning Road Trip and a Bounce Back at Home for the Humboldt Crabs

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2022 at 3:54 PM

Another week of Humboldt Crabs baseball came with something the team hasn’t had much of since the last pre-COVID season, a road trip. The Crabs started the week on the road traveling up to Oregon to take on the Medford Rogues for a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday that saw the Crabs take both games 7-2 and 11-5 respectively to continue a strong start to the season.


On Tuesday, the Crabs took the lead early, scoring two runs in the third inning to take a lead that wouldn't give up during the game. Starting pitcher Marcelo Saldana allowed only two hits through five innings of work and recorded two strikeouts with no runs allowed before handing the ball over to relief pitchers Merek Sears and Garrison Finck. The solid defense continued on Wednesday and was followed up with smart offense that saw the team generate runners with not only seven hits, but 12 walks as well.

Crabs shortstop Cameron Saso heads back into the dugout as the Humboldt Crabs take on the San Luis Obispo Blues on June 10, 2022. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs shortstop Cameron Saso heads back into the dugout as the Humboldt Crabs take on the San Luis Obispo Blues on June 10, 2022.

Heading back to the familiar confines of Arcata Ballpark for the weekend, the Crabs faced the ever competitive San Luis Obispo Blues for a three-game series, which became two after rain canceled Sunday’s game. The Blues showed their offensive stride early, putting up three runs in the third inning following an early error in the inning which was only the first of six errors that the Crabs would commit that night. The Crabs managed to respond however, putting up three runs of their own immediately to keep the game close.


Unfortunately for the home fans, two leadoff walks followed by two errors would ultimately lead to a fifth inning where San Luis Obispo put up five runs, knocking out Crabs starting pitcher Ethan Brodsky to hand the ball over to Caleb Ruiz to pitch the remaining innings. Despite being down by a wide margin, the Crabs battled back late in the eighth inning, putting up three runs in response as fans cheered and players in the dugout urged the offense to put on a show. Even with the late surge, however, the Blues managed to shut the door and deliver the first loss of the season for the Crabs, taking the win 6-8.

Celebrations outside of the dugout as the Humboldt Crabs attempt to rally back against the San Luis Obispo Blues on June 10, 2022. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Celebrations outside of the dugout as the Humboldt Crabs attempt to rally back against the San Luis Obispo Blues on June 10, 2022.

Even with the loss, there was a positive message for the team from Manager Robin Guiver as he addressed the team following the loss, praising the fight they showed down the stretch. That fight would continue to show on Saturday with a back-and-forth thriller that saw Arcata’s favorite crustaceans walk off the field with a narrow 8-7 victory. The Crabs trailed in the eighth inning once again, but a leadoff double from Mario DeMera and a walk to Colby Lunsford opened the door for Cary Arbolida to hit a pinch-hit double that scored two and set the table for Nick Salas to knock in two more later in the inning, which gave the Crabs the lead. Pitcher Cameron Saso put the finishing touches on the win, retiring the final three Blues batters in order to put the bow on a well earned win.


The season continues this week with five more games as the Crabs take on the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox for the Tuesday/Wednesday midweek series before a four game series with the Seattle Studs that starts on Thursday night.

Cabs Third Baseman Javier Felix makes a play on a ground ball as the Humboldt Crabs take on the San Luis Obispo Blues on June 10, 2022. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Cabs Third Baseman Javier Felix makes a play on a ground ball as the Humboldt Crabs take on the San Luis Obispo Blues on June 10, 2022.


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Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Humboldt Crabs Win Season Opener Before Washout

Posted By on Wed, Jun 8, 2022 at 5:19 PM

Even before the first pitch was thrown or the first batter stepped up to home plate, it was clear Arcata was ready for baseball to be back. The line stretched down F Street outside of the ballpark through the opening innings as over 1,100 fans made their way inside to watch the Humboldt Crabs open the 2022 season against the Humboldt Eagles after their original opponents the Ventura Pirates had to cancel.


While fans got themselves settled in, returning Crabs pitcher and Eureka native Caleb Ruiz also got himself settled in on the mound to start the season with a lights-out performance. Ruiz put up an excellent outing on the evening, striking out six batters in five innings of work while giving up only two hits and zero runs.

Crabs Pitcher and Eureka native Caleb Ruiz throws a pitch in the first inning during the Humboldt Crabs season opening game against the Humboldt Eagles on June 3, 2022 on the way to a 13-0 victory. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs Pitcher and Eureka native Caleb Ruiz throws a pitch in the first inning during the Humboldt Crabs season opening game against the Humboldt Eagles on June 3, 2022 on the way to a 13-0 victory.

After retiring the first of the Eagles batters, the new for 2022 Crabs roster showed that like last year, fans may be in for an offensive treat this summer. Following a leadoff walk, Second Baseman Nick Salas scored the first run of the year on a Cory Arbolida single to kick off what would end up being a five run first inning for the Crabs.

Arbolida proved that his first RBI of the season certainly wouldn’t be his last by any means, following it up with the first home run of the season in the second inning with a blast that rocketed over the left field fence and onto Highway 101.

Arbolida’s home run not only sparked the cheers of the crowd and his teammates but what appears to be the start of a new tradition this season in the dugout. As teammates flooded around him after crossing home plate, a bright blue crab on a matching blue chain was placed around his neck for the celebrations.

Crabs outfielder Cary Arbolida celebrates his first home run of the game and is given a crab on a chain by teammates  during the Humboldt Crabs season opening game against the Humboldt Eagles on June 3, 2022 on the way to a 13-0 victory. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs outfielder Cary Arbolida celebrates his first home run of the game and is given a crab on a chain by teammates during the Humboldt Crabs season opening game against the Humboldt Eagles on June 3, 2022 on the way to a 13-0 victory.

The crab chain found its way around the dugout two more times that night as catcher Tyler Davis followed Arbolida up in the same inning with another bomb onto the freeway to keep the momentum going. Arbolida himself launched another ball over the left field fence into traffic to the enjoyment of the fans for his second home run of the game in the third inning to increase the Crabs’ lead at the time to 8-0.

While the Eagles managed to largely stem the flow of Crabs offense, giving up just only two runs after the first three innings were complete, the majority of the damage was already done. Behind Ruiz’s impressive start and the work or relief pitchers Nick Perryman and Hayden Bode, the Crabs completed their nine-inning shutout win over the Eagles to start their season with a victory. As a pitching staff, Ruiz, Peryyman and Body allowed just four hits while striking out 12 batters on the way to the 13-0 win.

The Crabs were due to play the Alameda Cardinals on Saturday and Sunday, however the weather had other plans. Saturday’s game was initially pushed back for a double header on Sunday but that too was rained out before the games could begin. Instead, the Crabs will hit the road for a two-game series in Oregon to take on the Medford Rogues away on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning home to play the San Luis Obispo Blues for the weekend series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Crabs outfielder Aaron Perez gets ready for an at-bat during the Humboldt Crabs season opening game against the Humboldt Eagles on June 3, 2022 on the way to a 13-0 victory. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs outfielder Aaron Perez gets ready for an at-bat during the Humboldt Crabs season opening game against the Humboldt Eagles on June 3, 2022 on the way to a 13-0 victory.
It was a packed house for the season opener at Arcata Ballpark with official attendance announced as 1,123 to see the Humboldt Crabs begin their season on June 3, 2022. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • It was a packed house for the season opener at Arcata Ballpark with official attendance announced as 1,123 to see the Humboldt Crabs begin their season on June 3, 2022.


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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Yurok Tribe Brewery Takes on MLB

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2022 at 2:42 PM

Mad River Brewing CEO Linda Cooley with the agreement. - MAD RIVER BREWERY FACEBOOK
  • Mad River Brewery Facebook
  • Mad River Brewing CEO Linda Cooley with the agreement.
The San Francisco Giants’ stadium, Oracle Park, will now sell three craft beers from a brewery owned by the Yurok Tribe. It’s the first partnership of its kind with a Major League Baseball franchise.

Linda Cooley, CEO of Mad River Brewing Co. Inc., said the partnership represents the Yurok Tribe’s sovereignty being taken seriously and having a positive relationship with a professional sports team.

“It’s one of those things that you think is never going to happen. We’re never going to be at that level of recognition or taken seriously. Seems like we're either tokenized, or only considered for casinos or funny memes,” the Yurok tribal citizen said.

Around late summer in 2021, the brewery began looking to other avenues to take the company and saw how the baseball team embraced diversity.

The Giants have had a Native American Heritage Night for over a decade, which the brewery plans to participate in this year. The team hired Alyssa Nakken as MLB’s first full-time woman coach, the stadium has an LGBTQ night and "Until There's A Cure Day" event that raises awareness of HIV and AIDS.

Notably, the team implemented a way for fans to contact security after an incident at the Giants’ Native American Heritage Night in 2014.

“Any fan wearing culturally insensitive attire, using obscene or abusive language, engaging in antisocial conduct offensive to those around them or displaying any other offensive behavior is subject to removal from the ballpark,” according to the team’s website.

Fans can text 'FOUL' to 69050 if they witness such behavior.

“They’ve just been so inclusive for all these different ethnicities and we thought maybe we can take Indigenous people to that next level with them,” Cooley said.

The deal will last for two years with the drinks being sold across multiple locations in the stadium. The Mad River Brewing logo will also be on neon signs throughout the stadium.

“We are excited to welcome Mad River Brewery into our corporate partnership portfolio. Our organization is committed to promoting and celebrating our diverse community, and in partnering with Mad River, we can help give Indigenous peoples a presence beyond their borders,” Jessica Santamaria, director of partnerships & media at the San Francisco Giants, said in a press release. “Working with Mad River Brewery represents a prioritization to highlight smaller, non-traditional brands alongside ours.”

The three drinks that will be offered are: the Historic State Park IPA, which highlights the tribe’s partnership with California State Parks to return Indigenous names to parks; Steelhead Extra Pale Ale; and Undammed Huckleberry Hopped Hard Seltzer, which represents the tribe’s work to remove dams on the Klamath River, huckleberry being indigenous to the Humboldt County and what the Yurok Tribe has eaten for a very long time.

“One of the most important things we’re fighting for in Northern California is water,” Cooley said.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Major League News for Mad River Brewery

Posted By on Wed, Feb 23, 2022 at 1:26 PM

Linda Cooley, Mad River Brewery CEO. - MAD RIVER BREWERY
  • Mad River Brewery
  • Linda Cooley, Mad River Brewery CEO.
A little bit of Humboldt will soon be on tap at Oracle Park in a groundbreaking partnership between San Francisco Giants and Mad River Brewery — one of the first tribally owned breweries in the country.

'There have been dreams that sometimes seemed unreachable; finding a tribal product for sale in a professional stadium was unheard of - until now," brewery CEO Linda Cooley said in release. "Never again can we say that it is impossible. Not a statue, not a sign, not just a demonstration but our own product. Not only will this be the first tribal beer in a professional stadium but the first tribal product with a tribal certification."

The Yurok Tribe has owned the brewery and its Blue Lake taproom and restaurant  since 2019 but this is not the first big deal its struck in recent years. Back in 2020, Mad River Brewery broke the news of a partnership with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to distribute beer to their casino near Los Angeles.

The SF Giants move to bring a taste of Humboldt's craft beer scene to the ballpark is a "moment of Indigenous recognition and opportunity is truly a triumph to be celebrated" a post on the brewery's FB page states.

"By providing this platform, the Giants are assisting in the fight for water, land and for our story to be told,” Cooley said.

Read the announcement below:

After entering pandemic challenges just weeks after the Yurok Tribe’s purchase of Mad River Brewery in 2019, a bright horizon appears for the award-winning craft brewery.

Mad River Brewery, an independent craft brewery with a 33-year history of innovation and long list of prestigious industry awards, is known by craft beer lovers from across the country for their legendary flagships; Steelhead Extra Pale Ale and Jamaica Red Ale, specialty crafts including barrel-aged vintages of John Barleycorn Barley Wine. The brewery has also been recognized for their market-disrupting splash in the world of seltzers with their 2021 release of the Undammed line of hopped hard seltzers.

But all awards aside, Mad River Brewery’s history-making partnership with San Francisco Giants begins with a call to action and mission to promote the never-ceasing effort to advocate for water, land, and wildlife, as well as Indigenous recognition. As part of the brewery’s recent rebrand, the release of each new product is tied to bigger endeavors. Oracle Park will feature a variety of MRB’s craft brews including Historic State Park IPA, Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, and Undammed Huckleberry Hopped Hard Seltzer.

For years the Giants have been bringing people together, pouring into communities, and championing underserved communities through events, investing in youth and education, and building partnerships with purpose. The Giants have also been the first in the league to champion many aspects of diversity and inclusion, making them an ideal partner for the tribal owned brewery.

“There have been dreams that at one time seemed unreachable; finding a tribal product for sale in a professional stadium was unheard of—until now. Never again can we say that it is impossible. Not a statue, not a sign, not just a demonstration, but our own product. Not only will this be the first tribal beer in a professional stadium, but the first tribal product with a tribal certification.” Said Linda Cooley, CEO, Mad River Brewery. “In one swift motion the Giants are helping us secure our sovereignty and opening doors that could have never been opened. This time, we are not being tokenized—we are being supported in our causes, recognized as Indigenous, here and now, in this time and world that we live in.”

This new chapter for MRB means the sale of these products will truly catapult the efforts they tie back to, putting them in the hands of those they have never touched. Cooley emphasized, “By providing this platform, the Giants are assisting in the fight for water, land and for our story to be told.”

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Friday, January 21, 2022

HDNL to Allow Four Family Members at Games

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2022 at 11:12 AM

The Humboldt-Del Norte League has announced new guidelines for spectators at high school sporting events for the winter season that will allow each student-athlete to have up to four family members attend beginning Jan. 24.

The announcement from Commissioner Jack Lakin states that family members will need to enter as a group and follow the masking requirements once they are inside.

"To maximize attendance opportunities for family members, the gyms will be 'cleared out' between each game and then the next group of family members will enter the facilities," Lakin states in the announcement. "For smooth transitions between games, your prompt departure and patience while waiting to enter is greatly appreciated."

The league received a backlash after announcing Jan. 6 that superintendents of participating schools had voted 6-4 to ban spectators until at least until Jan. 23 in an effort to slow spread of the highly contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant locally and keep schools open for in-person instruction and student athletes competing. (Read more about the league’s decision in the Jan. 13 Journal cover story here.)

Each school will be responsible for assembling a "guest list" for both home and away games.

"In support of these priorities, the superintendents and the Humboldt-Del Norte League remind the community to fulfill the CDPH requirement for being masked in all high school buildings and all indoor high school athletic events," Latkin states.

Read the announcement below:
After thoughtful consideration and discussion, the Superintendents from the HDNL reached a consensus regarding new spectator guidelines for the remainder of the 2022 Winter Sports Season.

The group’s discussions were focused on the following priorities:
1. Preserve in-school instruction for all students
2. Preserve the opportunities for student-athletes to participate in competition
3. Provide a framework for Family Members to attend scheduled HDNL games/wrestling contests
4. Avoid the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) defined Mega Events of 500 people or more, requiring Vaccine Verification or Negative Testing for all attendees age 2 and older

Starting Monday, January 24, each student-athlete will be able to have up to 4 Family Members attend a HDNL Winter Sports Event. Family Members will enter the events as a group and also follow the CDPH required masking guidelines once they enter the gym. To maximize attendance opportunities for Family Members, the gyms will be “cleared out” between each game and then the next group of Family Members will enter the facilities.

For smooth transitions between games, your prompt departure and patience while waiting to enter is greatly appreciated. Each school will be responsible for developing their “guest list” of Family Members for both home and away games.

In support of these priorities, the Superintendents and the Humboldt - Del Norte League remind the Community to fulfill the CDPH requirement for being masked in all High School buildings and all indoor High School athletic events. Thank you in advance for your understanding, cooperation and assistance.

Respectfully Jack Lakin HDNL Commissioner
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Thursday, January 13, 2022

HDNL Stays Course on Spectator Ban

Posted By on Thu, Jan 13, 2022 at 3:25 PM

Mostly unmasked spectators take in a recent Fortuna boys basketball game. - PHOTO BY JOSE QUEZADA
  • Photo by Jose Quezada
  • Mostly unmasked spectators take in a recent Fortuna boys basketball game.
The Humboldt-Del Norte League did not reconsider its recently imposed temporary spectator ban for high school sporting events at its meeting last night, despite an outcry from some demanding it do so.

The league announced Jan. 6 that superintendents of participating schools had voted 6-4 to impose the ban at least until Jan. 23 in an effort to slow spread of the highly contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant locally and keep schools open for in-person instruction and student athletes competing. The decision prompted immediate backlash from some, with a petition calling on the league to reconsider quickly garnering more than 2,100 signatures. (Read more about the league’s decision in this week’s Journal cover story here.)

HDNL Commissioner Jack Lakin told the Journal via email that the league’s athletic directors met last night via zoom — with four of the nine who participated joining from home while isolating with COVID-19 — but did not revisit the temporary no-spectators policy. He said league superintendents are looking to schedule a meeting next week to “look at current conditions and determine the status of spectators” when the temporary ban is currently slated to expire Jan. 23.

Lakin said numerous games over the past week have had to be rescheduled or postponed due to COVID-19, while at least two local schools have also had to close because of staffing shortages due to COVID-19 infections, while the Klamath Trinity Unified School District decided to close all its campuses and cancel scheduled athletic contests for a week “due to the number of COVID cases in our communities.”

Cases throughout Humboldt County have continued to surge in the days after HDNL announced its decision. As of yesterday, the county’s seven-day average was more than 141 new cases confirmed per day with a test-positivity rate of 26.4 percent, with both numbers dwarfing the county’s previous highs. Through the first 12 days of January, the county had reported 1,667 new cases — 13.2 percent of its cumulative tally through the nearly 23-month-old pandemic.

At a press conference yesterday, local health officials said they expect the current surge to peak sometime next month. As of today, a state database indicates 20 people are hospitalized locally with COVID-19, including five under intensive care.
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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

HDNL to Temporarily Ban Spectators as COVID Cases Surge

Posted By on Wed, Jan 5, 2022 at 4:51 PM

Fortuna High School Husky guard Teal Msotovoy whips the ball to teammate Kylee Fennell in a game earlier this year. - JOSE QUEZADA
  • Jose Quezada
  • Fortuna High School Husky guard Teal Msotovoy whips the ball to teammate Kylee Fennell in a game earlier this year.

The Humboldt-Del Norte League has voted to temporarily bar spectators from attending games amid a local surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant, Commissioner Jake Lakin announced Jan. 5.

“The number of positive tests being reported from local school districts and recent updates from Humboldt County Public Health (188 new COVID cases in the Jan. 4 press release) indicate this is likely the beginning of a surge,” Lakin wrote in an email announcing the temporary no-spectators mandate, which will be in place from Jan. 7 through Jan. 23. “Given this information, the league took this action in an attempt to slow down and possibly minimize the spread of COVID in both our school and local communities. Additionally, this decision was approved by a majority of the HDNL districts as an effort to preserve on-site in-person instruction for students as well as preserving the opportunity to compete for our student-athletes.”

The decision came after Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 674 COVID-19 cases over the course of six days while reporting the highly contagious Omicron variant had been determined to be circulating locally.

Lakin said the league will continue to monitor local data and conditions and re-evaluate the policy in the coming days and weeks. He added that most HDNL events can be viewed online and urged people to contact their local schools to get information on how to view remotely.

“The League understands the disappointment that comes with this announcement, but given the circumstances, it appreciates your understanding, patience and cooperation,” Lakin wrote.

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