By Ray Hamill — Garrison Finck’s college baseball journey hasn’t gone exactly how he anticipated, but that doesn’t mean he’s not having fun.
The former St. Bernard’s Crusader, who is a member of the Humboldt Crabs for the first time this summer, hasn’t played a whole lot of collegiate ball since graduating high school in 2018.
After red-shirting his freshman year at Cal State East Bay, Finck pitched just 6.2 innings during the COVID-shortened 2020 season and saw the entire 2021 season canceled because of the pandemic.
“It’s been fun,” he said of his time with the Pioneers. “It’s always fun to come back home, but it was nice to get away from Humboldt County too.
“This was my first actual season, and toward the end I got to start, so that was good.”
Finck also has enjoyed playing for the Crabs and has been a reliable arm out of the bullpen for the local summer club, while providing a leadership role on a young roster.
“He’s been solid for us,” Crabs manager Robin Guiver said. “He mostly pitches out of the bullpen and he comes in and he throws strikes.”
Finck has displayed a lot control and rarely walks opposing batters.
This past spring, he walked just three batters in 29.1 innings, while striking out 18, and he has continued that for the Crabs this summer, striking out 19 and walking just three in 17.1 innings.
He is coming off his most impressive performance of the summer against the Fairfield Indians last weekend, when he struck out six and walked no one in 3.2 hitless innings.
“My favorite thing about Garrison is the way he works the game,” Guiver said. “His whole thing is to get in and get out with the fewest pitches possible. He’s definitely conscious of not walking guys.”
Finck also has been a good teammate and a leader on a tight-knit pitching staff.
“He’s definitely one of the first guys out there picking up his teammates,” Guiver said. “Our pitching staff has really kind of bonded. I see those guys having each other’s backs. They are their own little team within our team and Garrison is definitely one of the leaders of that crew.”
His three walks is the fewest allowed by any pitcher on the team along with former Eureka Logger Hayden Bode, who has been equally effective in that department through 17 innings this summer.
For Finck, the chance to play for the Crabs is one he has relished, and he says he enjoys playing in front of a packed house of local fans every night.
And that’s not all.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “The fans, of course, make it fun, as always, and it’s been fun playing with my teammates.”
After earning a starting spot with the Pioneers this past spring, Finck has taken on a different role with the Crabs coming out of the bullpen.
But he’s happy either way, as long as he gets to play.
“It makes it a lot easier knowing when you’re going to throw, but I don’t have a preference,” he said.
Having used just one year of college eligibility, Finck has plenty of playing time remaining, but he has just three semesters to go before completing a Business Finance degree and admits he isn’t sure what he’ll do after that.
“I’ve definitely thought about it,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m still having fun each and every day, that’s No. 1. But I also want to keep improving.”
For now, he’s just enjoying his summer playing for the Crabs, and the local club is glad to have him.
“He’s a competitor that throws strikes,” Guiver said.