Tagged: chris shafer

Good News/Bad News as Suns Down Hoppers Tonight

When I left the house tonight, I honestly thought the game would be rained out, maybe even a delay or two.  However, not even a drop of rain fell during the three hour affair in Greensboro.  The weather remained dreary and humid with an on field temperature of 86 degrees.

You could say tonights game was a GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS deal.

Good News: Rand Smith had three hits on five at bats.  Two which occurred in both the eighth and ninth inning while trying to start a rally.

Bad News: Josh Adams, Ryan Goetz, and James Wooster were each held to only one hit at five at bats

Good News: Shortstop Terrence Dayleg and relief pitcher Kevin Cravey will be activated back to the roster. Dayleg is the defensive anchor of the infield and Cravey will bolster the bullpen.

Bad News: To make room, reliever and 2011 SAL Championship pitcher, Chris Shafer will rejoin Jupiter and infielder Yeison Hernandez will return to Jamestown.

Good News: Brent Keys and Austin Barnes are only looking at a matter of days till they will be activated from the DL.

Bad News: With tonights loss, the Hoppers dropped to 6-13 and are currently 8 games behind the first place Hickory Crawdads

Bill Hass had the privilege of speaking to Manager Dave Berg tonight and captured Berg’s opinion in the latest Bill On Baseball entry:

“It will be a big difference,” manager David Berg said of getting players back. “The first half of the season we were healthy. I don’t know if we had a position player on the DL. The second half has not been kind to us in that regard. Now we’re adding the guys who got us to where we were.”

And with those additions back to the roster and the acquisition of Austin Nola I definitely think we’ll be back to where we were in no time at all!  So with all that said, IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!

-jordan

Click for box score and full recap of tonights game.  As well as, all names and teams have been linked to their milb profiles so you can keep up with all your favorite players!  You can also check out Bill Hass’ Official Blog by clicking here

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Hoppers Are Playoff Bound!

Today’s Greensboro Grasshoppers game against the Kannapolis Intimidators might have given me an ulcer. OK, not really, but boy did it have me nervous.

The Hoppers were victorious, 9-6. But it took them 10 innings to claim victory, creating a lot of stress and tension among the sizable group of Hoppers fans who were in attendance. You’re free to check out the official box score, game recap, or game story (Kannapolis version or Greensboro version), but none of that conveys the level of tension that was in the ballpark in the eighth inning. Take a look at my scorecard (pictured at the end of this post) to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

The day started out well enough. I was keeping an eye on the weather map to decide if I should make the trip down or not. Reports from Kannapolis indicated it was warm and sunny, so at about 10:30, I jumped in the truck and headed down the road. It was a nice drive, the roads were clear, and the sun was out. I got to the ballpark and immediately saw a couple of my friends from Greensboro. We got inside the park and ran into more people that we knew. It wasn’t long before most of the Hoppers fans found each other and settled into our seats, mostly around the visitor’s dugout.

The game started, and the Hoppers scored two runs in the first inning. Noah Perio had reached on a single and was subsequently driven in when Christian Yelich hit a home run. The Intimidators went three up, three down in the first. In the second, the Hoppers scored two more runs. Wilfredo Giminez doubled and was subsequently driven in when Isaac Galloway doubled. Galloway was driven in when Ryan Fisher doubled. It was like we were having a doubling party, but the Intimidators broke it up by joining with a double play, closing out the half-inning. In the bottom of the second, the Intimidators scored one run. In the top of the third, Marcell Ozuna scored a solo homer. His was the only run on either side in the third. In the fourth, both the Hoppers and the Intimidators went three up, three down. In the In the fifth, the Hoppers were scoreless but the Intimidators scored another run. In the sixth, Danny Black scored for the Hoppers, having reached base on a walk and scoring from first on a double by Wilfredo Giminez. There were no other scoring plays until the bottom of the eighth.

And that’s when the Hoppers fans started getting nervous.

Before talking about the eighth, let’s look at a picture of Christian Yelich coming home after his home run in the first. That’ll put us in a good mood for the nervousness that’s about to ensue.

Yelich Homer

Going into the bottom of the eighth, the Hoppers had the lead, with the score 6-2. Robert Morey had pitched very well, and after seven innings of work, was relieved by Grant Dayton. Dayton faced five batters. The first flew out to right. The second reached on a double. The third walked. The fourth walked. With the bases loaded, Dayton walked the fifth batter he faced, and a run scored. With the bases still loaded, Dayton was replaced by Chris Shafer. This is aways a tough spot for a pitcher: to inherit a situation where the bases are loaded. Shafer struck out the first batter he faced, but the second batter he faced singled and two more runs scored. Shafer was replaced by Michael Brady, who struck out the only batter he faced in the eighth.

Three pitchers. Three runs. The comfortable lead the Hoppers had maintained throughout the entire game was eliminated. They still maintained a lead, but it was only one run, with the score 6-5.

And now it was raining. It kept raining ’til the end of the game and my entire drive back to Greensboro.

In the ninth, the Hoppers went three up, three down. One run behind, all the Hoppers fans were tense. The Intimidators were about to send the heart of their lineup to the plate. The first batter struck out. *wshew* The second batter grounded out. *wshew* One out was all that was between the Hoppers and a playoff spot. The next batter reached on a single. That’s OK. The next batter reached on a double good enough to push the baserunner in. Great, now the game is tied with the winning run in scoring position. Fortunately, the next batter flew out to center field. Inning over, but now it’s a tie ballgame.

In the tenth, the Hoppers do what they’ve done time and time again the past several weeks whenever they find themselves in a tough spot. They dug in, and they delivered. Ryan Fisher grounded out. Noah Perio doubled. Marcell Ozuna singled and advanced to second on the throw while Perio scored. The Intimidators intentionally walked Christian Yelich. I guess his home run in the first inning scared them. Mark Canha flied out to center. JT Realmuto doubled, driving in both Ozuna and Yelich. Finally, Danny Black grounded out. Three big runs for the Hoppers, when they really needed it. In the bottom of the tenth, Jordan Conley replaced Brady. The first batter he faced singled, but the next three struck out.

The game was over.

The Hoppers won.

The Hoppers won!

The Hoppers made it to the playoffs! With this win and Hickory‘s loss today, the Hoppers were tied with Hickory for the second half title. But since Hickory was already in the playoffs, the tiebreaker went to Greensboro. It was a great win, and the Hoppers did it all by themselves. They didn’t end up needing some other team to win or lose in order for them to make it in, they controlled their own destiny right to the end. This has especially been an amazing second half of the season — they’ve won 21 of their last 28 games, 11 of their last 12. This is the first time Greensboro has been to the playoffs since 1999.

The playoff game in Greensboro is Wednesday. Then, in Hickory on Friday. If necessary, a third game will be played in Hickory on Saturday. I’m planning on going to every game in the series. Initially, there was some confusion about when the first game would be played, but Bill on Baseball cleared it all up: Home playoff game Wednesday.

It’s definitely an exciting time to be a Hoppers fan!

Here’s how I had today’s game. You can just see the tension in the bottom of the eighth.

9/5/2011 Scorecard: Kannapolis (6) v Greensboro (9)

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!
Email: hoppersfan@gmail.com
Twitter: @HoppersFan
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HoppersFan

Grant Dayton Hamming It Up

Grant Dayton Hamming It Up

I’m pleased to introduce the newest member of the Hoppers Fan photography staff: Eli. Eli is five years old and is a regular attender at the ballpark with his dad, Patrick. A few games ago, he captured the following gem of Grant Dayton and Chris Shafer.

Grant Dayton Hamming It Up

Grant Dayton hamming it up. Chris Shafer is not amused. (Photo Credit: Eli)

Patrick was showing me some of the pictures Eli’s taken over the season and he seems to be able to get the players to ham it up some for the camera. I’m thrilled to have permission to share this picture with everyone. Hopefully, Eli will get a few more good shots before the season is over that we can share here on the blog.

If you have any cool pictures related to the Grasshoppers that you wouldn’t mind sharing on the blog, drop me a email and we’ll see what we can do. Remember, you can click on the picture in the post to embiggen it. Join the conversation by leaving a comment — what are you thinking?

See ya at the ballpark!
Email: hoppersfan@gmail.com
Twitter: @HoppersFan
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hoppersfan

Marcell Ozuna at bat

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!
Email: hoppersfan@gmail.com
Twitter: @HoppersFan
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hoppersfan