By Ray Hamill — Hayden Bode hadn’t planned on playing for the Humboldt Crabs this summer, but when the longtime local club came calling he wasn’t going to say no.
Just one year out of high school, the former Eureka Logger debuted with the team earlier this month, and he has been a reliable arm out of the bullpen through the early season.
But it almost never happened.
The 2021 Eureka graduate played football and baseball for Butte College this past year, before making the decision this spring to end his football career and focus entirely on baseball, and he had hoped to play for the Humboldt B52s this summer.
But the Eureka-based B52s recently announced they would not be fielding a team this year, leaving Bode without a club for the summer.
“I had signed a contract and everything to play for the Bombers,” he said. “So I was kind of summer-team homeless for a week or two. Luckily, Coach (Robin) Guiver picked me up.”
Bode gives the Crabs some depth out of the bullpen and has appeared in four games this season, including what Guiver described as his most impressive outing yet in a relief appearance against the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox last week.
The Eureka graduate is one of six local players on this year’s team, along with fellow Logger Jackson Giacone, McKinleyville’s Cameron Saso, Arcata’s Merek Sears and St. Bernard’s Caleb Ruiz and Garrison Finck, and all of them have had an impact.
“They’ve all been doing well,” Guiver said of the locals. “They’ve all been doing their part.”
Bode, like almost any local player who gets to play for the longtime local club, is relishing the opportunity.
“It’s been pretty dang cool so far,” he said. “I’ve been enjoying it a lot.”
After a busy year playing collegiate sports, Bode altered his longterm ambitions and has decided to hang up his football cleats in order to focus his future on baseball.
“It was tough playing both baseball and football, but it was fun because I got to meet a lot of people,” he said. “But I’m just going to go ahead and play baseball. Trying to manage both of them is hard, and outside linebacker and pitcher is a tough combo.”
Scheduling time for the two sports also presents its own challenges, and Bode knows he would have had to cut short his summer with the Crabs if he was planning on continuing his football career at Butte.
He also knows that not playing baseball last fall left him underprepared for the spring season.
“I definitely didn’t practice enough in the fall for baseball,” admitted Bode, who wants to play for a four-year program after his time in Oroville. “Hopefully I can go back this fall and start for Butte.”
The former Logger certainly enjoyed some success with the Roadrunners, who finished second in the Golden Valley Conference and made it to the state Super Regionals, where they fell to Folsom Lake College and his current Crabs teammate Saso.
This spring he also got to reunite with a former teammate — Ferndale’s Landon Gomes — while playing for the Roadrunners.
“We played together on the (Humboldt) Eagles and stuff before, so it was fun playing with him again,” Bode said.
Bode and the Crabs are on the road this week and will open a three-game weekend series against the Potters in Lincoln on Friday night.