Lots of familiar faces back for the Crabs this season

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Caleb Ruiz is back with the Humboldt Crabs for a third straight summer.

By Ray Hamill — Unlike last year, when former St. Bernard’s Crusader Caleb Ruiz was the lone returning player on the entire roster, this year’s Humboldt Crabs team will feature a lot of familiar faces.

The Crabs open the new season against the Novato Knicks at the Arcata Ball Park on Friday night, with multiple returning players, several of whom had a big impact in 2022.

Most notably, five local players are back with the team, including Ruiz who will play for the Crabs for a third consecutive summer.

Joining Ruiz, who played this spring for the University of Antelope Valley, are Arcata’s Merek Sears, Eureka’s Jackson Giacone, St. Bernard’s Garrison Finck and McKinleyville’s Cameron Saso.

Also back on this year’s year’s team are infielders Javier Felix and Colby Lunsford, as well as pitchers Drew Woody and Ethan Brown.

That gives the Crabs six returning pitchers.

“I think we’ve got some good athleticism,” manager Robin Guiver said of the 2023 roster. “We’ve got some good infielders, we’ve got some pop, and we’ve got a good group of retuning players.”

That makes for an easier transition for the new players, especially with so many locals who can show them around town and make the adjustment easier.

Saso is coming off a second straight trip to the JC California final four in state play after another big spring pitching and playing shortstop for Lake Folsom College.

He will be a rare two-way player once again with the Crabs this summer.

Sears, meanwhile, made one appearance this season for the University of Houston, while Finck played for Cal State East Bay, where he appeared in 11 games, including making nine starts.

The SB graduate was 1-2 with an ERA of 5.48 and had 22 strikeouts in 44.1 innings.

Like Sears, Giacone also is a Division-I player.

However, the Cal State Fullerton freshman missed the 2022 season through injury but will return to action with the Crabs.

“He’s not too far away,” Guiver said. “He’s going to come to practice and start easing into things.”

Jackson Giacone in action for the Crabs last summer.

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