By Ray Hamill — The Humboldt Crabs got a long look at some of the best young players in the area on Wednesday night, as the Humboldt Eagles 19Us pushed them all the way in an epic 15-inning showdown at the Arcata Ball Park.
Luke Brown finally ended a four-hour game on a pop fly to left field in the bottom of the 15th inning to give the Crabs a 4-3 walk-off win.
But they had to battle all the way against the best high school players in the area, as the Eagles shut out a roster of top college players for nine straight innings before the late dramatics.
The win was the second straight for the Crabs, who improved to 2-2, while the Eagles suffered their first loss of the season and dropped to 5-1-1.
The Crabs out-hit the American Legion club 11-4 and stranded several players in scoring position throughout the night, as the Eagles pitchers and defense continually found ways to get out of jams.
While the Crabs pitching has mostly impressed in their first few games of the summer, their bats have yet to really get going.
They took an early lead when Billy Ham doubled in a run in the bottom of the first, but the Eagles would respond immediately when Rylan Lommori doubled in a run in the top of the second.
“I thought Rylan Lommori was outstanding at catcher,” Tomlin said of the Fortuna High senior. “It was a really good performance by him.”
The Crabs would re-take the lead with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, one on a Brown single and a second moments later on a Javier Felix double.
But their younger opponents would answer the call once again and tie the game with two more runs in the top of the eighth, the first on a Cole Ayala single and the second when Will Mager was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
A good sized crowd was then treated to six extra innings, before Brown drove in Andrew Crane, who had reached base on a single and advanced all the way to third on a Chubby Cortez walk and a Peyton Miller single.
Rogan Bode and Michael Manzi each also had a base hit for the Eagles.
The game featured 11 different pitchers, with Caden Vance, Cooper Ohlsen, Ethan Thomas, Matt Letter and Cody Collins all taking the mound for the Eagles and all frustrating the Crabs batters.
Letter was particularly impressive.
The Fortuna senior, who is normally used in a closer role throwing one or two innings, pitched six scoreless innings in relief.
“Our pitchers threw well,” Tomlin said. “I think that was probably the most impressive thing. Every one of our pitchers that took the mound threw well.”
Former Humboldt Eagle Merek Sears got the start for the Crabs and looked sharp in his first outing of the summer.
The Arcata High graduate pitched three innings and allowed one earned run on two hits and one walk while striking out six.
Colton Wuelfling, Drew Woody, Benjy Tucker, Brady Chavez and Nathan Long all pitched in relief, with the latter getting the win after throwing four scoreless innings and striking out eight.
Ham also had two hits for the Crabs.
Next up, the Crabs will host the Chico Nuts in a single game on Friday night at 7 p.m.
This weekend’s schedule will be a little different for the Crabs because of Oyster Fest, and they will play TKB Baseball on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
The Eagles will also be in action this weekend with four tough games at Fairfield.
They play Reno and Medford on Saturday and Vallejo and Chico on Sunday.