The Greensboro Grasshoppers trounced the Delmarva Shorebirds tonight with an impressive 10-7 come-from-behind victory. It has me wondering if this is a fairy tale. With this win, it’s a sweep of the Shorebirds. With this win, it puts the Hoppers only 3 games out of first place for the 2nd half. With this win, the Hoppers have a legitimate — but still difficult — chance at the playoffs. It may be a fairy tale in the making.
The Hoppers started out well, scoring the first run of the game in the 2nd inning. And then the third inning came and everything fell apart. Delmarva scored seven runs, putting the Hoppers six runs behind. Fortunately, those were the only runs Delmarva scored, and the Hoppers managed to score a run in the fifth, another run in the seventh, and six big runs in the eighth to pull the score to 10-7. It was a nail-biter of a game and there were several times I was concerned that the Hoppers wouldn’t make it. Like the time when they loaded the bases with only one out, and managed to strand all three base runners. But, in the end, a win is a win. And this win is exactly what the Hoppers needed to do to stay alive with a shot for the playoffs. Kannapolis also won against Rome tonight, so we didn’t gain any ground against them.
What does this all mean? It means that the final five games of the season are the games it will boil down to. What’s even more exciting is that those games are against Kanappolis. Every one we win, we are guaranteed to pick up a spot against them in the standings. I ran into Hoppers announcer Jim Scott in the score after the game and he said that the Hoppers need to win 3 out of 5 in order to make it happen. Kannapolis is a great team, so it’s going to be difficult to accomplish that — especially in Kannapolis — but it’s possible. If the Hoppers aren’t able to win the 2nd half outright, they still have a wild card chance if Hickory stays on the top of the standings. It’s going to be an interesting game of divisional standings chess between now and Labor day. Bill on Baseball has a great recap of tonight’s game and details about what needs to happen in various situations to allow the Hoppers to get in the playoffs: Hoppers’ scintillating run continues. Be sure to check it out, as well as the official box score and game recap.
The win was great, but what made this an extra special night for me is that I got to spend the evening with about 40 of my friends in the Party Deck on the third base side. A few weeks ago, I won a drawing sponsored by Sheetz where the prize was a free night on the Party Deck, including supper. It was AWESOME. Here’s a picture from the deck:
The folks at the ballpark took real good care of us. We had an all-you-can-eat hot dog and bbq buffet. We had a great view of the ballpark. I even arranged with Pat Taylor, owner of Taylor Made Kettle Corn, to have enough kettle corn up in the seats for everyone to enjoy. I’ve always maintained that the kettle corn is the best deal in the ballpark, and I was excited to be able to share it with my friends tonight. I got upstairs, and there was a bag on every table, with a couple of extra bags on the buffet line. Several of the Hoppers staff, including Todd and Tim, also stopped by to check on things. Even Guilford stopped by:
As you can see, I was wearing the Kyle Winters jersey I won at the Tropical Jersey Night auction a few weeks ago.
At one point, my wife Meredith went down to the field to take some pictures because we knew some of the folks who were going to participate in one of the on-field promotions. Here’s a cool shot that she took of Mark Canha swinging hard. I don’t know if he connected on that particular swing or not, but it was his three run homer that put us in the lead in the eighth.
Since it was the last home game of the regular season, the Hoppers put on the best fireworks show of the year. Every explosion was really cool, and the show lasted a bit longer than usual. It was really neat to be able to watch the fireworks from the second level.
It was sad to leave the park when the game was over, but with the excitement the team has been building by maintaing such a long winning streak, I won’t be surprised if I find myself back in the park for a playoff game in a week or so. I’m planning to head down to Kannapolis for the entire series. If you’re planning on making it out to any of the games, leave a comment on the blog and let me know. We’ll definitely catch up with each other at the game.
It’s an exciting time to be a Hoppers fan.
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?