Legends Edge Crabs in FWL Playoff Opener

Updated: August 3, 2013

By Neil Tarpey of the Times-Standard

ARCATA — A familiar pattern repeated itself on Friday evening.

Drew Bradshaw, the Humboldt Crabs’ ace lefty, pitched a strong game — holding the visitors to only five hits over eight innings — but received poor run support and fell prey to his team’s shoddy defense.

Andrew Herrera, the Menlo Park Legends’ right-hander, looked composed and even dominant — 10 strikeouts with no walks in seven innings on the bump — as he stymied the Crabs in his third good outing at the Arcata Ball Park in the last 12 months.

All three runs scored Friday were of the unearned variety, and the Legends left the field with a 2-1 win in their first-round matchup of the Far West League’s postseason tournament.

”The guy (Herrera) competes. A helluva job by him, and a helluva job by Bradshaw,” said Crabs manager Matt Nutter.

Herrera, while playing for the Southern Oregon Riverdawgs, pitched eight strong innings against Humboldt in the 2012 FWL tournament. And seven weeks ago, on June 14, he picked up the W when the Legends beat Bradshaw and the Crabs 4-2.

”He’s (Herrera) already had a lot of success here, so it was a familiar situation for him,” said Legends manager David Klein. “He did just what I expected, took us deep into the game, pounded the zone, kept them off balance.”

The loss drops the No. 1 seed Crabs (38-14 overall) into today’s once-beaten bracket game at 7:30 p.m. against the No. 3 seed California Warriors (32-23). The loser of that game will drop out of the double-elimination tourney, while the winner will play on Sunday morning at 10 a.m.

With the victory, the No. 4 seed Legends (23-21) advance to today’s winners’ bracket game at 3 p.m. against No. 2 seed Top Speed Baseball (41-13). TSB defeated the Warriors 8-6 in Friday’s tournament opener.

”Here we go again. Now we have to do it the hard way,” said Nutter, whose team must win four in a row to capture the FWL postseason flag. “We’ve definitely got the pitching and the hitting. The guys just got to believe.”

Menlo Park got a gift run in the top of the first.

Dane Vande Guchte drew a four-pitch leadoff walk, moved to second on Logan Trowbridge’s sacrifice bunt, and scored when shortstop Trent Goodrich threw wildly to first.

The Crabs tied it in the bottom of the second.

Clay Cederquist led off with a single to center, advanced to second on an infield error, and scored on Cullen Hendrickson’s RBI single to center.

The Legends manufactured the decisive run in the top of the eighth.

Vande Guchte led off by beating out a high-hopping infield single, and again went to second on another good Trowbridge sac bunt. Goodrich then misplayed Geo Saba’s grounder, putting runners at the corners.

Danny Miller followed with an infield grounder that, had the Crabs turned two, would have ended the inning. But an odd hop caused second baseman Hendrickson to have to tag Saba, while Vande Guchte scored easily from third.

The Crabs twice stranded runners at third base, left two men aboard in the eighth, and another in the ninth.

(4) Menlo Park Legends 2, (1) Humboldt Crabs 1

MP 100 000 010 — 2 5 3

HC 010 000 000 — 1 8 3