A true showcase featuring some Humboldt County’s finest baseball players saw the Humboldt Eagles 19-U — a collection of the top high school and early-college players from the region — squared off against the storied Humboldt Crabs, eventually falling 5-0 to the home team Tuesday night at the Arcata Ball Park.
And what a ball game it was.
The Eagles, their oldest younger than any Crabs player, kept the home team scoreless through three innings before Dawson Bacho scored on a wild pitch in the fourth to give the Crabs a 1-0 advantage.
The Eagles’ best chance at taking the lead came in the sixth inning.
After incurring two outs the Eagles loaded up the bases thanks to an error which helped Gannon Cyphers get on, a single from Hunter Davis and a walk issued to Scott Coffelt. Crabs manager Robin Guiver retired starting pitcher Tyler Condie following the walk and sent on Dylan Campbell — the team’s ERA leader — to get the home team out of a tight spot.
Dustin Ireland, who gave his McKinleyville Panthers a late-game lead more than a few times during his senior season earlier in the year, stepped to the plate against a fresh Campbell and, after fouling the first pitch away and looking at a nasty right-to-left slider for strike two, struck out swinging with a powerful rip.
After changing sides Bacho gave the Crabs a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth off a two-run homer, his fourth of the year.
Kokko Figueiredo added to the Crabs’ lead in the seventh with an RBI single which scored Riley Cleary for a 4-0 lead. An inning later Bryce Kirk drove home Damian Henderson via a double to give the home team its final run of the night.
In an effort to save arms and give as many of his young players a chance to step to the bump against a club the majority of them have been watching throughout their lives, Eagles head coach Matt Tomlin used seven pitchers in Tuesday’s game.
Garrison Finck, a St. Bernard’s graduate fresh off his first season at Cal State East Bay, started at pitcher for the Eagles and stayed on for two innings during which he gave up a lone hit and nothing else. A parade of Eagles pitchers followed him as Jaden Gorge, Caled Ruiz, Merrick Sears, Cameron Saso, Kalebh Hill and C.J. Van Meter all manned the mound for an inning each.
Condie got the start and win for the Crabs for his 5.2 innings of work. He struck out six and gave up five hits. Campbell pitched 2.1 innings and gave up no hits while striking out three. Dylan Lamb closed out the game for the Crabs and struck out the side in the ninth.
Davis led the Eagles hitting wise with two of the team’s five hits. Henderson had the hot-bat for the Crabs, going 3-for-4 with two doubles in the win. Figueiredo also had a nice night, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Tuesday’s game served as a final tune up game for the Eagles (8-0, 32-10), who depart Thursday for the Area Tournament in Woodland. The Eagles finished league play undefeated at 8-0 and head into the tournament looking to qualify for the State Tournament at the end of the month.
For the Crabs (22-13), Tuesday’s win counts as the club’s fifth in a row. The Crabs will take on the Redding Ringtails today at 7 p.m. at the Arcata Ball Park.