By Ray Hamill — It didn’t take long for Colby Lunsford to figure out the one thing most former Humboldt Crabs players always seem to agree on — that there is no better place to play collegiate summer ball than at the Arcata Ball Park.
In fact, Lunsford enjoyed his debut season with the team in 2022 so much that he was determined to come back again this summer.
And when other plans were announced earlier this year, he immediately got a hold of Crabs manager Robin Guiver and did his best to make sure it happened.
Lunsford couldn’t be happier about spending a second summer in Arcata and the Crabs couldn’t be happier to have him back.
Last year he had a team-best .404 batting average for the Crabs with a pair of home runs, two triples and six doubles, and he’s carried that impressive form into this summer, where he is averaging .365 in 16 games through the first half of the campaign.
And he has already surpassed his home run tally from a year ago with a team-best three in 2023.
But baseball is only part of the reason this Grass Valley native loves playing for the Crabs.
“I think it’s the best place you can play for the summer,” he said, echoing the sentiment of generations of Crabs players. “The fans are unbelievable, the coaches are great, and the guys are all super cool.”
He also has some family connections to the area and lots of family members in town for Alumni and Crabs Parents Weekend this week, including his grandfather, who has a house in Samoa.
As for this year’s team, the second baseman feels the players have bonded particularly well and says they have been hanging out together a lot on and off the field.
“I mean, it’s been super fun. Everybody’s super close this year and we just have a great time,” said Lunsford, who added “Both years I’ve been here I’ve made lifelong friends.”
Lunsford will play for Division-I Louisiana Monroe this coming year after previous stops at Sacramento State and Consumnes River.
He admits that Sac State “just wasn’t the best fit for me,” but relished his time at Consumnes River, where he averaged .333 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs this past spring.
And it was his performance during a late-season game that put him immediately on Louisiana-Monroe’s radar.
“They came to a playoff game this year. They were there to watch the opposing third baseman,” he said. “I played third base that game for the first time (in 2023), and I had good game. And after the game they came up to me and made me an offer.”
Lunsford, who has played ball and lived close to home his whole career, admits moving so far away will be a challenge, but knows he will benefit from the move.
“It’ll definitely be hard, I’ve never been that far from home,” he said. “But once I get used to it, it’ll be good.”
Before that, he still has some unfinished business to take care of here in Humboldt County and he likes the way this year’s team has come together.
“I like how competitive everybody is. Everybody wants to win,” he said, adding that “The coaches are great. They’re there for you whenever you need anything. They’re good people, They care about you. I really enjoy playing for the coaching staff.”
Lunsford’s younger brother Cooper, who is a freshman in high school, also is a baseball player and the elder sibling believes he might have a future in a Crabs uniform some day.
“He wants to,” Colby said with a chuckle. “He’s been trying to get me to put in a good word.”
No doubt Cooper must heard somewhere just how much fun it is to play for the Humboldt Crabs at the Arcata Ball Park.