Tagged: christian yelich

Brian McCann Photos From Dano Keeney

Brian McCann is currently rehabbing with the Rome Braves, playing against the Greensboro Grasshoppers this weekend. The Hoppers Fan blog is thrilled to be able to share photos from his rehab stint taken by Dano Keeney, the Hoppers’ Team Photographer. Dano is in his 8th season with the Hoppers and has captured several memorable moments such as Christian Yelich jumping on home plate after the 15th inning walk-off in 2011 and the five first round pitchers in front of the “Greensboro” sign in 2006. Dano has also done most of the team cards since 2006. In addition to serving as the official photographer for the Hoppers, Dano does weddings, family photos, kids sports games, baby photos, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Visit the Dano Keeney Photography website to see his portfolio and get in touch with him if you want to have your event photographed.

Dano sent the following photos from Friday’s game, which was Brian McCann’s first rehab assignment.

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Thanks again for that great pictures, Dano!

Remember, you can click on any of the pictures in the post to embiggen them. Send us your pictures and/or stories from Brian McCann’s visit to hoppersfan@gmail.com, and we’ll try to feature them on the blog. Join the conversation by leaving a comment — what are you thinking?

-greg

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

Jack McKeon night at the ballpark!

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Jack McKeon Bobblehead I received tonight…

Tonight was Jack McKeon/Steve Bartman night at the ballpark.  For those that don’t know who Jack McKeon is… He’s a legend around these parts.  Jack was nicknamed “Trader Jack“.  He is a former Major League Baseball manager. McKeon played baseball for the College of the Holy Cross. In 2003, he won a World Series with the Florida Marlins. When he took over as manager of the Marlins in 2011 at age 80, he became the second oldest manager in major league history.  McKeon previously managed the Kansas City Royals from 1973 to 1975, the Oakland Athletics in 1977 and 1978, the San Diego Padres from 1988 to 1990, and the Cincinnati Reds from 1997 to 2000. From 1981 to 1990, he served as general manager of the Padres, forming the team which won the 1984 National League pennant. McKeon was named National League Manager of the year in 1999 and 2003. The latter award was a result of leading the Marlins, who had a record below .500 when he took the job as their manager during the season, to a World Series victory. With that victory, he became, at 72, the oldest manager to win the World Series, winning against the New York Yankees.On October 2, 2005, just after the Marlins won the last game of the 2005 season, McKeon announced that he would not be returning the following season. McKeon led the Marlins to three of the six winning seasons in franchise history.

Again, even to say he’s a legend, might even be an understatement.

What tonight was about, was something that occurred ten years ago.  Tonight was “Have any of you ever heard of Steve Bartman?”  Yeah, me either… He apparently is a fan, beloved by the Florida Marlins organization.  I have searched the internet, talked to staff at the ballpark, and did some research of my own, on this Steve Bartman guy.  And furthermore, why would the Hoppers have a night shared for a Legend, and someone no one has ever heard of?

So, I went to Wikipedia, and here’s what I found…

The Steve Bartman incident occurred during a Major League Baseball playoff game between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins on October 14, 2003, atWrigley Field in Chicago. In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, with Chicago ahead 3–0 and holding a 3 games to 2 lead in the best of 7 series, several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Marlins’ second baseman Luis Castillo. One of the fans, Steve Bartman, reached for the ball, deflecting it and disrupting a potential catch by Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou. If Alou had caught the ball, it would have been the second out in the inning, and the Cubs would have been just four outs away from winning the National League pennant. Instead, the Cubs ended up surrendering eight runs in the inning, giving up the lead. They went on to lose the game, 8-3. When they were eliminated in the seventh game the next day, the “Steve Bartman incident” was seen as the “first domino” in the turning point of the series.

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In the aftermath of the incident, Bartman, a lifelong Cubs fan, had to be escorted from the stadium by security guards, and received police protection for a time when his name and address were made public on MLB message boards. The next night, back at Wrigley Field, Florida overcame Kerry Wood and a 5–3 deficit to win 9–6, and win the pennant.  The Marlins would go on to win the 2003 World Series, beating the New York Yankees four games to two.

The Cubs have not won a playoff game since the incident. They did not reach the playoffs in the three subsequent seasons, were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 NLDS, were swept again by the NL West champions LA Dodgers in the 2008 NLDS, and missed the playoffs from 2009 on.

News footage of the game showed him surrounded by security as passersby pelted him with drinks and other debris. Bartman’s name, as well as personal information about him, appeared on Major League Baseball’s online message boards minutes after the game ended. As many as six police cars gathered outside his home to protect Bartman and his family following the incident.Afterwards, then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich suggested that Bartman join a witness protection program, while then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush offered Bartman asylum.

So… the connection?  Jack Mckeon was the Manager of the Marlins that night.  To the baseball community, it’s because of Steve Bartman, that Jack McKeon shows off that beautiful thing we like to call the World Series Championship ring.

Since it was Jack Mckeon/Steve Bartman night the games were likewise themed.  In the between inning promotions, you would have someone dressed as Steve Bartman run on the field and disrupt or interfere with the game.  It was rather humorous.  During the sausage race, a look-a-like came on the field and distracted the hot sausage so that sage could claim its first win of the season!

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Also, happening tonight was the HoppersFan  baseball giveaway.  Josh Royster was our winner, along with Chris Johnson, from High Point.  Josh Royster won a Christian Yelich autographed baseball and Chris took home a Jose Fernandez autographed baseball.  Both of these balls were game used balls.  Please stay tuned for our next promotion and giveaway!

The Hoppers lost tonight by the score of 5-2 to the Hickory Crawdads… Check out the official box score, recap, and as always, don’t forget to check out our friends at Greensborosports.com

Even though tonight was a loss, it is because of men like Jack McKeon and because we have the best fans in all of baseball… It just makes it A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!

-jordan

(Photo Credits: Wikipedia (Steve Bartman Incident) and Jordan Stowe)

(Resources: Wikipedia: Steve Bartman  Incident)

Where Are Your Favorite Players Heading?

JOSE FERNANDEZ'S JOURNEY FROMCUBA TO BEING THE NO. 1 DRAFT PICKJose Fernandez

Many of you remember Jose Fernandez as the guy that showed up from Cuba to sling fastballs at the upwards of 100 mph.  Jose also holds the distinction of providing the SAL League with their first no hitter of the season.  And first ever in Greensboro’s history.  You may also remember him from earlier in Spring Training he slung a 101mph fastball at Giancarlo Stanton’s helmet.  Stanton was treated and later returned to swing another day.  Jose is the number one prospect for the Miami Marlins Organization and was expected to start the 2013 season with the Marlins.  He was sent down to the Minors Camp March 13.  He is expected to start for the Jacksonville Suns.

“He was impressive,” manager Mike Redmond said. “He was exactly how everybody described him. Everybody said that I’d be impressed, and I was impressed with everything — the way he handled himself, the way he pitched, his command, his presence. His mound presence is great. You can tell he’s a competitor. He wants it. And that’s what you want. Those are the type of guys you want in the organization. His day will come.”

“I’m 20 years old,” Fernandez said. “I just can’t be upset. I pitched six innings, didn’t give up a run. I knew, I was going to get sent down, I was ready for it. … They told me, ‘Hopefully this is the last time.'”

882012_10151522490122349_1793835801_oChristian Yelich

The Marlins on Friday reassigned top prospect Christian Yelich to Minor League camp and told the outfielder that he will open the season at Double-A Jacksonville.  Yelich, who ranked 13th on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospect List, was Miami’s feel-good story of Spring Training. The left-handed-hitting outfielder, the organization’s first-round pick in 2010, was arguably the team’s best player since camp started — batting .364 with a .451 on-base percentage and a .818 slugging percentage. Many of you remember Yelich as the player that hit the 2 run walk off to win the Championship Series at home against the Hickory Crawdads sending us to Savannah to face the Sand Gnats in the finals.  We would win the coveted SAL League Championship four nights later.  Christian will be one to watch for years to come.  He is expected to do great things!  I am really glad I got the privilege of seeing him, among others play in Greensboro, all season long.
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Below is a list to start with:
Kyle Skipworth- Miami Marlins  (Made opening day roster!!!)
Marcell Ozuna- Jacksonville Suns
Chris Coghlan- Miami Marlins (Made Opening Day roster!!!)
Kyle Jensen- New Orleans Zephyrs
Kevin Mattison- New Orleans Zephyrs
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An updated full list will be published upon the conclusion of Spring Training.  Rosters come out the Sunday evening!  Until then, WOOT WOO… IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!
-jordan

HEAT WAVE! Hoppers are HOT!

It seems like the Hoppers always have something you can always count on. For example, last year we all knew Marcell was always good for a home run, Christian was always going to try and steal to second (which he usually got picked off….), and Isaac Galloway was Mr. Clutch. When it was on the line, and Isaac came to the plate you knew magical things were gonna happen. This year, I’ve been very impressed with the heavy bats so far. So far this season, there are only five hoppers out of the fifteen man hitting rotation that have not hit a home run. Josh Adams has hit five. Adams also hit two in one game last home stand. One thing is certain, the Hoppers are on fire and they are bringing their bats with them.

In today’s 8-4 victory against the Crawdads, there were three homers from the Hoppers: Austin Barnes, Matt Smith, and Josh Adams. Starting pitcher was Charlie Lowell. He pitched 6 innings, 6 strikeouts, and allowed 2 hits. He was relieved by Daniel Oliver who pitched one inning, allowed 2 hits, and 1 strikeout. The Hoppers to cross the plate were Josh Adams, Ryan Goetz, Matt Smith, and Brent Keys. Today was a definite scorcher. It reached about 91 on the field. If this is how our boys play in the heat, bring it on!!! As always I echo the sentiment heard round the ballpark… IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!

-jordan

“Heart Attack Hoppers” Do It Again (9/12/2011)

After tonight’s nail-biting win, one of my friends exclaimed “The ‘Heart Attack Hoppers’ do it again!” He was right on the money.

Tonight’s Greensboro Grasshoppers game against the Savannah Sand Gnats was the first game of the SAL Championship Series. It had it all. Home runs? Check. Balk? Check. Strategic substitutions? Check. Walk-off homer that was called foul? Check. Manager ejection? Check. Walk-off double two batters later? Check. With two outs, Marcell Ozuna was robbed of what would have been a 2-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth. Then he made it to base on a walk. Then the pitcher balked. Christian Yelich walked to load the bases. Two outs, bases loaded, Mark Canha hit a perfect double towards center field. Danny Black scores to tie and Marcell Ozuna scores to win. It was tense, the fans were upset at the umps. Everyone was cheering for the Hoppers, and when things were tight, the Hoppers did what the Hoppers do. They delivered. They kept the game exciting right to the very end. And they tried to give fans heart attacks while they were working their way to the win. I’ve been saying it a lot lately, but it’s true: it’s a good time to be a Hoppers fan.

Check out the official box score and game recap for all the details. Savannah has also posted a game story. Check out Bill on Baseball for a great post, too: Hoppers come to expect late-inning heroics, with quotes from several of the players and Andy.

Starting tonight for the Hoppers was Kyle Winters. As regular readers of this blog know, he’s my favorite Hoppers pitcher. That’s why I especially hate to say that he had a rough night tonight. It wasn’t bad, but it was poised to turn bad at any moment. I was nervous from the beginning, when the Sand Gnats managed to load the bases with only one out on the board. Fortunately, a popup to third and a fly to right ended the inning. In the second inning, Winters game up a double to the first batter he faced, who was subsequently driven in by a sacrifice fly. In the third inning, one of the Savannah batters hit a home run, as did a Sand Gnat in the fourth inning. After facing three batters in the fifth, Winters was pulled with runners on second and third. Taking the mound in his place was Alex Caldera. Caldera pitched 2.2 innings of no-hit, one walk baseball, picking up three Ks along the way. In the top of the 8th, Caldera was replaced by Grant Dayton, who pitched both the eighth and the ninth. Dayton gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, as well as two doubles. He also notched up three Ks and was the pitcher of record when the winning run scored, so he gets credited with the win. This was another great example of the Hoppers bullpen really performing solidly for the team.

Here’s what I thought was a cool picture of Ryan Fisher. I think he was swinging and missing in this shot.

Offensively, the Hoppers impressive from the beginning, then mostly lacking until the very end. Noah Perio started the first inning with a double to right field. On the first pitch he saw, Marcell Ozuna hit a home run, bringing the score 2-0, Hoppers. The Sand Gnats chipped away at that lead, scoring a run in each of the second, third, and fourth innings. The Hoppers tied the score at 3 in the fifth inning when Ryan Fisher hit a solo home run to right that left the park with such force that I think it sailed over the Mariott and all the way to Alamance County before landing. There were no more scoring plays until the Savannah home run in the eighth put them ahead 4-3. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Aaron Dudley replaced Wilfredo Giminez as a pinch-hitter. Immediately, the Sand Gnats responded by replacing their pitcher to create what they believed would be a better pitcher-hitter matchup. Their new pitcher walked Dudley, who was then replaced by Joe Bonadonna as a pinch runner on first. At this point, the bases were loaded and the Hoppers were poised to take advantage of the situation when Ryan Fisher came to bat, but he ended the inning by striking out. The ninth was the crucial inning for the Hoppers. The Sand Gnats got a runner as far as second, but did not score. The bottom of the ninth kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Isaac Galloway reached first on a walk, but was put out on a fielder’s choice when Danny Black bunted. Noah Perio struck out. With two outs on the board, Marcell Ozuna hit a home run to left field that was just fair of the foul pole, but the umpire ruled it foul. This caused Andy Haines to engage in impassioned debate with the umpire about the call, eventually getting ejected. As he left the field, he got Marcell’s attention and yelled at him to do it again. Instead of doing it again, Marcell walked. With runners on first and second and Christian Yelich at the plate, the pitcher balked. With first base now open but runners on the other bags, the pitcher walked (probably intentionally, but they were playing it close) Yelich. With the bases loaded and Mark Canha stepping up to the plate, the Sand Gnats made one final pitching change. It turned out to be a mistake, because Canha hit a solid double to center field. Black scored to tie. Ozuna scored to win. The Hoppers dugout exploded for the second time (it also emptied when Ozuna hit the ball that was called foul).

Here’s what Ozuna looked like hitting the home run he was robbed of:

Cahna got an ice water shower. Then he got a shaving cream pie in the face. The fans loved it. The team loved it.

This puts Greensboro in a great advantage going into the rest of the series. This series is best of five, and it’s great for the Hoppers to already have a one game lead. The next game will be played tomorrow night in Greensboro. Then, the teams go to Savannah to play on Thursday, and if necessary, Friday and Saturday. Personally, I’m hoping for a sweep. It’s been a long time since Greensboro has brought home the SAL title. This might be the year for it to happen.

Here’s how I had the game. Full of excitement, especially at the end..

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

Playoff Magic, Game 1 Is A Win

“This is a magical game.”

That’s what one of my new Hoppers friends said sometime around the 13th inning of tonight’s 15-inning Greensboro Grasshoppers playoff game against the Hickory Crawdads. The game ended with a walk-off two-run homer hit by Christian Yelich. It’s a huge win for the Hoppers, who now only need one more win to take the best-of-three series, claim the division championship, and head to the league championship.

Celebration At The Plate

Going into the game, I was talking with the guys who hang out on Eugene Street during batting practice and I predicted that the game tonight could go pretty much any way: a complete blowout on either side, or an incredibly close and tense game. I was leaning towards close and tense, and that’s exactly what we got. Check out the official box score and game recap for all the details, but here’s how it went down for the Hoppers.

Starting for Greensboro was Rhett Varner. The game was scoreless through four innings. In the top of the fifth, Hickory scored a run. After six innings, Brett Zawacki replaced Varner on the mound. Greensboro did not score a run until the eighth inning, when Marcell Ozuna hit a solo home run. Grant Dayton took the mound for the Hoppers in the ninth. The score remained tied at 1-1 through the ninth inning. It was a tense game the whole time. Things got even more tense in the tenth. Michael Brady took the mound for the Hoppers, and the second batter he faced hit a solo home run, bringing the score 2-1 in favor of Hickory. When the Hoppers took the plate in the bottom of the tenth, they needed a run to stay in the game. And that’s exactly what they got from Danny Black, who walked, advanced to second on a beautiful sacrifice bunt by Isaac Galloway, advanced to third on a 6-3 groundout by Noah Perio, and made it home on a Marcell Ozuna single. Unfortunately, Christian Yelich flew out, ending the inning with the score tied 2-2. The eleventh and twelfth were scoreless. Jordan Conley replaced Brady on the mound in the twelfth. The thirteenth inning was the most tense of the game. The first batter reached on a double. The second batter walked. The third batter laid down a nice sacrifice bunt, advancing the base runners to second and third. Conley intentionally walked the next batter, loading the bases. At this point, Conley was replaced by Mike Ojala, who pitched the rest of the game and is credited with the win. Ojala struck out the first batter he faced, which put two outs on the board. The next batter singled, driving in one (and thank goodness only one) run. Finally, the last batter grounded into a 4-3 out. The Hoppers were both lucky and skillful in getting out of that situation with only one run scored. With the score now 3-2 in favor of Hickory, the Hoppers once again found themselves in need of a run to stay in the game. And once again, they found it. This time it came when Marcell Ozuna singled, and was then driven in by a Christian Yelich double. There were no other runs, so we left the thirteenth inning with the score tied at 3. This was particularly disappointing, as the Hoppers stranded three runners. We were hoping for either a walk-off grand slam or a walk-off walk to end the game, but our wish was not granted. There were no scoring plays in the fourteenth inning. In the fifteenth, Hickory scored another run via a homer, putting the score 4-3. Once again, the Hoppers found themselves in need of a run in order to stay alive. Things were looking good for the Hoppers, with the middle of the lineup scheduled to bat. Marcell Ozuna reached first after being hit (slightly grazed, it appeared to me) by a pitch. Then Christian Yelich drove him in on a two-run walk-off homer that was simply a bomb. The stadium exploded. The Hoppers cleared the dugout to welcome Ozuna and Yelich home. The fans went wild. It really was magical.

As always, Bill on Baseball has a great recap, including quotes from the players and manger: Hoppers’ flair for drama continues.

So, now Greensboro is in the playoffs for the first time since 1999. They’re facing tough competition, and they’re coming through. They’re not making it through easily, though. A fifteen inning game is tough on the team. I wonder how the bullpen is holding up. Fortunately, tomorrow is an off day so the team can rest before heading to Hickory for Friday, and if necessary, Saturday. With a best-of-three series like this, it is vitally important to get the first game so that your opponent is playing “catch up.”

Another fun note from the game. One of the advertising tie-ins is with Taylor Made Kettle Corn, which is unquestionably the best value concession at the ballpark. When the Hoppers catch a high fly ball, they call it a “Taylor Made Can Of Corn.” The first time they did that tonight, I held up my bag of kettle corn high above my head, which must have caught Jim Scott’s attention, as he announced on the PA that I was holding it up. It was funny to hear my name come through the PA at the park — thanks, Jim. And I’m glad to help share the love of kettle corn to all the baseball fans. I usually buy an extra bag to take home from the game.

My seat was right behind the Hoppers’ on-deck circle and I got a few decent pictures of the batters as they were warming up. Here are a couple of Marcell Ozuna that I’m particularly fond of.

Marcell Ozuna On Deck

Marcell Ozuna On Deck

I’ll be heading to Hickory after work Friday for the game. I’ll be pulling for the Hoppers to shut Hickory down and take the series early. If they do win the division championship, two of the league championship games will be played in Greensboro next week.

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

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