By Ray Hamill — At least four local players have committed to play for the Humboldt Crabs this summer, with the possibility of more joining them before the season begins in early June.
Former St. Bernard’s pitcher Caleb Ruiz will return to the team for a second season and will help anchor the pitching staff along with another former Crusader pitcher, Garrison Finck, who plays collegiately at Cal State East Bay.
Also joining the Crabs this summer will be former McKinleyville Panther Cameron Saso, who will be a rare two-way player for the team, as well as Eureka High senior Jackson Giacone, who will join the club right out of high school.
“He’s a Giacone, which means a lot in Humboldt County,” Crabs manager Robin Guiver said of the Loggers standout. “I’m excited about him. I think it will be really good for him to get the experience.”
Giacone, who will play collegiately at Cal State Fullerton after graduation, worked out with the club last summer, taking batting practice with the Crabs players on a regular basis, and Guiver says he will play “all over the place or us.”
Giacone’s high school coach Jeff Giacomini, who will be an assistant with the Crabs this summer, believes the standout senior will be ready to make the leap from high school to the summer collegiate level.
“Jackson is very talented,” Giacomini said. “He’s on his way to a serious big-time baseball school.”
Giacone’s uncle, Eric Giacone, is an assistant coach with the team.
Ruiz, meanwhile, is playing for the College of San Mateo this spring after previous spells at College of the Redwoods and Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
The former Crusader was a regular midweek starter for the Crabs last summer and had an immediate impact.
He has appeared in six games for the 14-7 Bulldogs this spring and is 1-0 with an ERA of 4.15.
“I’ve seen enough of Caleb to know what he is, and I think he’ll be a big part of what we’re doing on the pitching staff,” Guiver said.
Finck, meanwhile, has appeared in six games for the Pioneers, who are 10-12, and he has an ERA of 5.40.
And Guiver is excited at the prospect of working with the former H-DNL standout.
“He’s a strike thrower,” the manager said.
Saso, meanwhile, is enjoying a big spring with the high-flying Lake Folsom College Falcons, who are 18-2-1 on the season.
The former Mack High standout is batting .238 in 20 appearances with six extra-base hits, and he has also made seven appearances on the mound, with an ERA of 3.60 and a pair of saves.
“Cameron is a two-way guy at Folsom, and we’re going to give him the opportunity to be a two-way guy for us,” Guiver said.
One local player who will not be returning to the team this year is Ethan Fischel, a former Eureka Logger who enjoyed a big season with the Crabs last sumer.
Fischel was offered a spot on this year’s team immediately following the 2021 season, but the Willamette standout has told the Crabs he will be taking the summer off for personal reasons.
Guiver, who is still finalizing his roster, says there is the potential of adding more local players before the season begins on June 3.