By Ray Hamill — The Southern Humboldt 76ers are back.
Just when it seemed the American Legion team was going to fold for the summer season, baseball in the southern part of the county got a boost with the news that there would be a team this year after all, with new head coach Andy Olsen calling the shots.
“We got it back on its feet,” Olsen said.
As of Thursday’s season opener, the 76ers feature a roster of 10 players, mostly from Fortuna High, although Olsen is hoping to add a couple more for what is a short season with the district tournament scheduled for early July.
The team debuted against the Humboldt Eagles at Crusader Field, putting up a fight for the opening six innings before falling 15-6 to a good Eagles team.
“We had the lead and then we had one bad inning,” Olsen said.
With just one practice under their belts, however, it was a mostly impressive performance, especially considering most of these players have not played in a month.
“Considering that, I was pleased,” the head coach said. “We only made one error, and for not playing a game for a while it wasn’t bad.”
The roster is young, with just one 17-year-old on hand and players as young as 14, but Olsen expects them to be competitive.
“I do feel, even with the limited roster, we’ve got six guys that all have some high school varsity experience,” he said. “We just have to get out there and get the rust off, and I feel we’ve got some versatility. We’ve got some guys that can play a lot of positions.”
The Fortuna High contingent on the roster includes Regan Nyberg, Wyatt Wilson, Ethan Ward, Joey Quen, Aaron Head-Mason, Jared Egan and Corbin Reback.
They’re joined on the team by Ferndale’s Garrett Christiansen and Vincent Meade, and South Fork’s Kaydon Pogue.