Down four runs? The Crawdads have the Crabs right where they want them.
The Walnut Creek Crawdads (10-3-1, 6-3 CCL) mounted a comeback after being down four runs in the seventh inning on Wednesday against the Humboldt Crabs (10-4) off the bats of Brian DuRoff and Cole Fellows and Thursday’s game was a similar story. The Crawdads were down by four runs again and managed to complete another comeback via two home runs in the ninth inning to walk it off in a 6-5 victory over the Crabs.
Walnut Creek can thank third baseman Max Farfan for being the catalyst for this comeback. The third baseman hit two home runs with four RBI and his second homer tied the game in the ninth inning, driving in three runs with one swing. Farfan was the only Crawdad hitting below .100 entering Thursday and Walnut Creek second baseman Ryan Ellis talked about how this game could be a turning point in Farfan’s season.
“He’s really been trying to make some adjustments at the plate,” Ellis said. “Getting on time with the fastball and that was a bomb he hit, the first one he hit, early in the game. We were all amazed by that…I’m happy for him that he is starting to swing a hot bat and he’s able to help us win.”
Farfan’s struggles were no secret this summer and it seems like he might have exorcized his demons with this performance. On the other hand, Ellis had a team-leading .480 batting average before Thursday and has arguably been the most consistent hitter for the Crawdads so far. Ellis also enjoyed success in the ninth with his walk-off home run and he talked about what he was seeing in that at-bat.
“I was going up there looking for a fastball,” Ellis said. “My timing had been off a little bit today early on against a similar pitcher. I told myself with the new guy that I was going to jump on the heater. I got my pitch and barreled it.”
The “similar pitcher” that Ellis referenced was Humboldt starting pitcher Merek Sears. The Crab was looking for a complete game outing after only allowing one run with no walks through eight innings, but he faced a rude awakening in the ninth. Sears had a better start than the four earned runs he allowed in the ninth inning suggested and Farfan talked about what was working for the Humboldt starter.
“He’s been kind of working the whole team offspeed,” Farfan said. “I saw before I was hitting that he was spinning a lot of changeups to guys and they were all out in front…He was just getting guys off balance and was throwing a lot of strikes. Forcing guys to swing early and it worked for him.”
On the other hand, the Crawdads did not get as good of an outing from their starting pitcher. Mickey Thompson was cruising through three innings, only allowing one baserunner in each frame, but the fourth really got to him. Thompson allowed four straight hits to start the frame and it eventually led to five earned runs on his ledger.
Walnut Creek relief pitcher Joey Cammarata helped his San Jose State teammate get out of a jam in the fourth and was able to give the Crawdads 2 ⅔ innings of work with three strikeouts. Along with Cammarata, the rest of the bullpen for the Crawdads shut down the Crabs by not allowing a run for the rest of the game. The Walnut Creek bullpen combined for 5 ⅔ innings with two hits and three walks to keep the Crawdads in the game.
The Crawdads swept a two-game series against the Crabs in comeback fashion and hope to carry that momentum over to Friday when they face the South Bay Storm at Monte Vista High School in another non league matchup.