The Sand Gnats Strike Back (7/30/2011)

Tonight’s Greensboro Grasshoppers game against the Savannah Sand Gnats was ugly. It boiled down to pitching. The Hoppers couldn’t field a good pitcher until their third try, in the sixth inning. And the Sand Gnats fielded three good pitchers for the entire game.

Sigh. Towards the end of the game, I joked with my friend Jonathan that they should put Robert Morey back in, after his masterful complete game shutout yesterday.

Marcell Ozuna at bat

Marcell Ozuna at bat

Check out the official box score and recap for all the particulars, but here’s a quick rundown from my perspective by the visitor’s dugout. Rett Varner was the Hoppers starting pitcher. He had a great first inning, two strikeouts and one hit. They even caught the one hit attempting to steal second. Then Varner kinda fell apart and they finally pulled him after four innings, having given up 3 runs on 6 hits. Varner was replaced by Kenneth Toves, who only lasted an inning and two thirds, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits. The Hoppers finally fielded a good pitcher in Miguel Mejia, who pitched two and a third innings, only allowing 1 hit, and 0 runs. Mejia is new on the team, and I look forward to seeing him throughout the rest of the season. Jordan Conley came in for the final inning and I was afraid the Sand Gnats were going to manufacture RBIs a single at a time, but he managed to hold them to 1 run off 3 hits. Offensively, the Hoppers couldn’t seem to hit anything, and they ended up only scoring 1 run (from Jacob Realmuto) off 3 hits. I was so disgusted with the game that I didn’t even stick around for the fireworks. I went to Cook Out and got a milkshake instead.

Enough about the game. I’d just like to close the book on that one and come out fresh tomorrow.

Before the game, I headed out to the park to watch BP through the fence and try to snag some balls. It was a great day for snagging, and I snagged five (came home with four, since all the snaggers share the balls evenly). I met another gentleman and his son who came out to try and snag balls to use for their own batting practice. That’s an awesome reason to come to the park early and try to snag BP balls. I still had a ball from yesterday that I couldn’t use for autographs since it had a big black smudge on the sweet spot, so I gave it to them before I headed into the park.

Today was one of the monthly season ticket holder Saturdays, so they let us in an hour early. There ended up being about seven of us who came, a very disappointing turnout. The ballpark didn’t even have the complementary snacks that they usually have for us. And there wasn’t any program. So we just got to kinda wander around a bit and all ended up sitting together for a while and chatting about how it’s a shame that so many season ticket holders don’t care to take advantage of the perks the Hoppers are trying out this year. I’m not sure they’ll continue this perk next year, which bums me out, but Tim mentioned that they’re working on some other ideas to implement. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Sand Gnats take BP

Sand Gnats take BP

Once it got closer to game time, I tried to get some more autographs. My only success came at the autograph table, where I got pitchers Chris Shafer and Holden Sprague to autograph a baseball. I also got Chris’ autograph on his card. Almost all of the cards I have left for autographs are pitchers, but I couldn’t find any of them in the bullpen before the game, so there was nothing going on there. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Chris Shafer autograph

Chris Shafer autograph

I spent the game with friends by the visitor’s dugout again tonight, which was as enjoyable as always. We toned down our heckling a bit.

Well, that’s pretty much it. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better game. We’re still quite a bit out of contention for taking the 2nd half for the playoff spot, but if Hickory captures it again, we’re sitting pretty well with our overall win-loss record, and might be able to capture a spot that way.

Here’s how I had the game. It was ugly.

Scorecard. Sand Gnats over Hoppers, 7-1

Scorecard. Sand Gnats over Hoppers, 7-1

Remember, you can click on any of the pictures in the post to embiggen them. Check out the photo album on Facebook for all the pictures. Join the conversation by leaving a comment — what are you thinking?

See ya at the ballpark!
Twitter: @HoppersFan


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