By Ray Hamill — The 2019 local baseball season officially comes to an end this weekend, bringing closure to one of the most exciting campaigns we’ve seen in some time.
From the local Little League fields to the collegiate summer squads, there was plenty of success to go around, and, of course, plenty of talking points.
1 — McKinleyville Little League steals the show
No one made a bigger statement this summer than McKinleyville Little League, which claimed a pair of District and Section titles on the way to sending two of the town’s three teams on to a state tournament.
This was the second straight year the Mack all-stars reached two state tournaments, which was impressive on its own.
Even more so was the fact the 9 and 10 all-stars almost won a state title, placing second in their tournament.
Clearly, it’s a bright future for McKinleyville baseball.
2 — B52s are one of the most important teams around
The Humboldt B52s are one of the most important baseball teams on the North Coast.
The reason for this is the opportunity the team provides for so many local collegiate baseball players to hone their skills at home over the summer months.
Just as important, this is a quality team that plays entertaining baseball against some top clubs every summer, including Tuesday’s big showdown with the Crabs at Bomber Field, which was an exciting showdown played in front of an estimated 800 fans.
All in all, it was a great way to celebrate Humboldt County baseball.
3 — Eagles 17U win a state title
It was three years in the making, but the Eureka Eagles 17U American Legion state championship makes them officially the most successful of all local baseball teams this summer.
After finishing second in state play for the past two years, this was a well deserved championship for many of the same players, who learned through their experience the past two summers and made no mistake this time around, rolling through the final two weeks of the season undefeated.
This group of Eureka High and St. Bernard’s all-stars is only going to get better and it will be interesting to see what they can do together at the 19U level in the coming years.
A special mention also goes out to the team they beat for the state championship, the Northern Humboldt Giants, who were the most resilient of all local teams this summer.
4 — Crabs figure it out in July
After a tough June that saw them carry a losing record for much of the month, the Humboldt Crabs got things together over the second half of the season, winning 26 of their past 30 games heading into the final weekend.
It was another entertaining season at the Arcata Ball Park for the most popular baseball team in the county, with Damian Henderson setting a new single season record for most home runs with a wooden bat (10 and counting).
It was also a good summer for local players playing for the team, with Kokko Figueiredo, Dylan Campbell and Aidan Morris all playing major roles.
5 — Eagles 19U leave their mark
Perhaps no local team entertained us as much as the Humboldt Eagles 19U, who achieved their goal of experiencing the state tournament in Yountville and finished in the top four in state play.
This true county all-star team had plenty of heroes and plenty of pitching, and they made one of their biggest statements of the summer by giving the Crabs, a team of top collegiate talent, all they could handle in their historic showdown.
They also had a benches clearing brawl late in the season, something that brought them together and showed how much of a team this group really was.
Big things lie ahead for many of these players, some of whom will no doubt be lining out for the Crabs in the next few years.