Summer collegiate baseball returns to the North Coast on Friday night, with both the Humboldt B52s and Humboldt Crabs each hosting weekend series to begin their respective seasons.
The Crabs open with a three-game stand against the Corvallis Knights at the Arcata Ball Park, while the B52s will welcome the Fresno A’s to Bomber Field in Eureka.
And the B52s are expecting another competitive summer, perhaps even their best ever.
“In my opinion, on paper this is the best team we’ve ever had,” team owner Jeff Giacomini said.
The B52s will be tested right off the bat against an A’s team that played the Humboldt club close on the way to losing all three games on opening weekend a year ago.
“It’s the third year we have them for opening weekend and we’re excited to have these guys up here again,” B52s head coach Scott St. John said. “They always come up with a competitive team.”
Giacomini expects a roster of about 24 this summer, with six or seven back from a last season’s 29-12 team.
“We’ve got guys still trickling into town, but we’ve got a good group for the weekend,” he said.
And St. John expects them to be ready to go and says he’s excited about the team’s prospects this summer.
“We want to be competitive,” the head coach said. “I always tell the guys when we first get together that we plan to win. Our goal is to get these guys better for when they get back to college, but we want to win.”
Among the key returning players, Tommy Castro and Ethan Fischel are each back after big seasons this spring in college.
This summer, the B52s will also host the Crabs in one of four matchups against their county rivals, on July 30.
“We’re excited about that,” St. John said. “We’re looking to fill this place up.”
The season-opening series gets under way on Friday night at 7:05, with games on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:05 p.m.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.