By Ray Hamill — It’s safe to say Dylan McPhillips is no longer being heckled by the fans at the Arcata Ball Park.
And it’s safe to say Reggie Christiansen is still sending quality players and people to the Humboldt Crabs.
Four years after first playing at the Arcata Ball Park as a member of the Auburn Wildcats, McPhillips has returned to the area this summer, this time lining up in a Humboldt Crabs uniform, where he has been one of the team’s most consistent and versatile players.
“He’s a throwback ball player,” Crabs manager Robin Guiver said. “He’s just a high-energy Sac State kid that gets after it, and he’s one of my favorite guys on the team for sure.”
McPhillips also has been one of the team’s most reliable players all summer, batting .341 with a team-high 27 walks and an impressive on base percentage of .472.
Defensively, he has played five different positions, lining up at second base, third base, left field, right field and behind the plate, where he has impressed the most.
“He’s probably our best catcher, depending on the day,” Guiver said. “He can play five positions no problem, and he’s played shortstop in high school, so we could probably use him there if we had to.”
McPhillips, like most of his teammates, is enjoying his time in Humboldt County, and came here knowing what to expect after his brief visit with the Wildcats in the summer of 2017.
“I had an idea of what the fans were like. I knew they were pretty wild,” he said. “They were definitely heckling me (in 2017), but there was great hospitality after the game.”
McPhillips, who will be a college senior this fall, is the latest in a long line of top-notch Sac State players to play for the Crabs, thanks in large part to Christiansen, the highly-regarded long-time Hornets head coach who is a Ferndale native.
“We usually send a few guys every year up to Humboldt and this year they chose me,” McPhillips said. “I’d already heard good things about Humboldt.”
McPhillips also appreciates playing for Christiansen and a successful Hornets program, which has won 30-plus games in nine of his 11 seasons as a head coach.
“Coach Christiansen is exactly what you’re looking for in a head coach,” McPhillips said. “(Nine) seasons with 30-plus wins, that’s some slim company there, and that can all be attributed to Reggie.
“I’m really fortunate to play four years at Sac State.”
McPhillips also knew about Guiver before being recruited by the Crabs manager this year. He played high school ball for Monte Vista High against San Lorenzo Valley High, where Guiver coaches in the spring.
And he appreciates what the Crabs manager and his coaching staff have done for him.
“You look at our team, and the coaches, they definitely know what they’re doing,” McPhillips said. “And they’re giving us a chance to win.”
The Crabs will close out the season with a three-game series against the Sacramento Yankees this weekend, and McPhillips feels the team came together quickly this summer, in part because of the personalities.
“I think we gelled really well, and came together quickly,” he said. “I feel like right away it was easy to talk to and hang out with the guys, and that made it easy to become a team.
“It’s been a good summer. It’s been a lot of fun.”
The Crabs open the weekend series on Friday night at 7 p.m.