By Ray Hamill — After announcing on Wednesday night that they will begin the 2021 season on June 4 with fans permitted, the Humboldt Crabs have plenty of work to take care of between now and then.
Including solidifying a roster for the two-month season.
Manager Robin Guiver will have at least three local players on hand, and possibly a fourth, depending on whether long-time Crab Kokko Figueiredo gets drafted or not in early June, something the team is certainly rooting for.
Figueiredo has played for the team in 2018 and 2019 and was due back for a third summer in Arcata last year before the pandemic put everything on hold.
The former Fortuna Husky and College of the Redwoods standout is enjoying a strong spring playing Division-I baseball for North Carolina Central.
Whether Crabs fans get the opportunity to see him again or not, they will have at least three locals to cheer for this summer, Caleb Ruiz, Ethan Fischel and Aidan Morris.
Morris, a Eureka High graduate, returns to the team for a second season and is currently playing for Bethel University, an NAIA program in Tennessee.
Both Fischel and Ruiz were scheduled to debut with the long-time local club last summer, and will finally get the opportunity to do so this year.
Fischel plays for the Willamette Bearcats and has been on fire recently, hitting in five straight games, including a remarkable four home runs in a three-game spell.
For the season, the former Eureka Logger is batting .273 with six home runs, four doubles and 24 RBIs.
The Bearcat are 15-9.
Ruiz, meanwhile, is a St. Bernard’s graduate who played briefly at CR last spring before the shutdown and is now playing for Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
After a couple of early-season appearances, Ruiz has an impressive ERA of 1.29.
This year’s Crabs will also feature two players whose fathers played for the club and went on to be drafted.
Fresno State’s Will Springer will join the team, following in the footsteps of his father Dennis Springer, who played back in the 1980s.
Also joining the team this summer is Cal State Bakersfield’s Konner Kinkade, whose father Mike Kinkade played for the Crabs back in the early 1990s.
The 2021 season will run from June 4 to August 8.