By Ray Hamill — Two former teammates will face off on Tuesday night, as the Humboldt Crabs welcome the Humboldt Eagles 19U to the Arcata Ball Park on what will be a unique occasion for local baseball.
Crabs manager Robin Guiver and Eagles head coach Matt Tomlin both played for the Crabs back in the late 1990s, each pitching out of the bullpen and spending a lot of game time together.
On Tuesday, they’ll be reunited at the Arcata Ball Park, calling the shots from different dugouts two decades after playing alongside each other.
And the showdown will be a special one for Humboldt County baseball in more ways than that.
The iconic Crabs have long set the standard for local baseball (and sports), competing for three quarters of a century on the way to becoming one of the most cherished summer sporting traditions in the area.
They feature mostly players from out of the area, sprinkled in with a few locals — three this summer — but always have top class talent on hand.
To give you an idea of the level of talent the Crabs have, six of their former players were taken in this summer’s MLB Draft, including three chosen in the top 10 rounds.
The Eagles, meanwhile, represent a true local all-star lineup of high school and young collegiate players.
Think of it this way. If there are three local players playing for the Crabs a couple of years from now, you can be certain all three of them are currently playing for the Eagles.
Tuesday’s game, which gets under way at 7 p.m., should be a fun occasion and a great night to celebrate Humboldt County baseball.
The Eagles will feature eight different pitchers for the game, with eyes on saving all their arms for a big weekend ahead of them.
Garrison Finck, a former St Bernard’s standout who plays at Cal State East Bay, will get the start on the mound, with Merek Sears, Caleb Ruiz, C.J. Van Meter, Jaden Gorge, Cameron Saso, Kalebh Hill and Gannon Cyphers each scheduled to pitch an inning in relief.
The game is just part of a big week for the local American Legion team, which opens play in the state playoffs in Woodland on Thursday.
The Eagles, who are 32-10, will go in feeling they have a point to prove, after a disappointing showing a year ago when they felt short of reaching the state tournament.
For the second straight year, they are one of two No. 1 seeds for the eight-team, five-day tournament, with the top four advancing to play the top four teams from SoCal in next week’s state tournament in Yountville.
The Eagles open against Napa at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.