By Ray Hamill — Humboldt Crabs manager Robin Guiver wasn’t always happy to see Javier Felix take the field, but that all changed this summer.
Felix is enjoying a huge season with the Crabs. He leads the team with his .443 batting average and is second best in RBIs with 24, trailing only teammate Tyler Davis and his 26.
But that’s no surprise to Guiver, who got to know all about Felix during his high school days playing for Santa Cruz High.
“He kicked our butts for years,” said Guiver, who is the head coach at San Lorenzo Valley, which plays in the same conference as Santa Cruz. “Him and teammate Anthony Kariganopolous (who is also a member of the Crabs this year), so it’s kind of nice to have both of them on our team.”
Both Felix and Kariganopolous also were teammates at Cabrillo College, which happens to be the same college that Guiver played for and another reason the Crabs manager is glad to have them on this year’s roster.
“I like the way they do things there,” he said.
Felix also apparently likes the way the Crabs do things and admits he is having a blast this summer playing for the team and playing in front of the big Arcata Ball Park crowds.
“So much fun,” he said. “It’s a great crowd. The people here and our teammates are wonderful. It’s fun playing almost every day in front of fans like that. The first game I played here was the most fans I ever played in front of.”
For his part, Felix has had to overcome some adversity on his journey to the Arcata Ball Park.
He was recruited by San Diego State right out of high school, but was scheduled to red shirt his first year there while recovering from surgery on his right shoulder after suffering an injury during his senior season.
But then, in his own words, “COVID hit and they cut me.”
He then returned home to play for his local community college and began to re-establish himself as a top recruit.
After two impressive years with the Seahawks, he will return to Division-I baseball in the fall when he joins the Northridge University program.
In the meantime, he’s enjoying his time with the Crabs and believes his game is benefitting big time from playing for the team.
“It has 100 percent,” he said. “Mentally it’s stronger than it’s been in a while. The coaches have been great. Our hitting coach JB (John Bryant), I can pick his brain every day to tell me something new.”
The Crabs are also glad to have Felix on their team and have been impressed with what he’s brought to the dugout and how he’s performed at first and third base.
“He hits for power and average and he does a good job on defense,” Guiver said. “And around batting practice and in the dugout he brings a ton of energy. He has fun playing and that really rubs off on the other guys. It’s kind of contagious the energy he brings. He’s taking it serious but also treating it as a game.”
The fans at the Arcata Ball Park have played their part.
“I feed off it 100 percent,” he said of the atmosphere. “When you see a bunch of fans there, you’re playing for them and you’ve got to give your best.”
Felix added “it’s always nice interacting with them.”
As for his future, Felix is looking forward to the next challenge and playing at Northridge and says he’ll wait and see what happens from there.
“If we can make it to the show, we make it to the show, and if not, maybe coaching,” he said.
The Crabs, who have won seven straight, open a three-game series against the Menlo Park Legends on Friday night at the Arcata ball Park at 7 p.m.