Tonight was a very rainy and dreary night for baseball. It was spitting drizzling rain all afternoon and into the evening. In the past, statistics would show that the Hoppers generally do good and come away with a win on days that it rains, or has rained that day. Tonight, the West Virginia Power just couldn’t let the Hoppers flip their circuit.
Right out the gate tonight, West Virginia comes surging out to put two men on base, first and second. Then Gregory Polanco shocked a three run homer to give the Power the early 3-0 lead. That homer would barely roll over the fence for Polanco. That would be his 13th home run of the season for the Power. Josh Adams would then answer in the bottom of the second with a homer of his own. Which by the way, I now possess!!! I’ll be getting him to sign his home run ball later in the week. Josh is one of my favorite players so to get his home run ball is rather exciting! This was Josh Adams 13th home run of the season as well. This would be one of the Hoppers only three hits of the night. With the Power surging tonight, Greensboro had their hands full!
Starting pitcher on the night was Josh Hodges. He threw 7 innings, allowed 8 hits and 4 strikeouts. He would be relieved by James Nygren who would sling the final two innings, allowing 3 hits and 1 strikeout. Click for a Full Recap and Box Score of tonights game. West Virginia pitchers would have a combined 7 strikeouts and would only allow 3 hits on the night. The Hoppers put forth a valiant effort, but West Virginia would cut the power to Greensboro winning by a score of 5-1. This would drop the Hoppers to 60-41 on the year and 14-17 in the second half.
I dodged the rain quite a bit tonight but I did manage to take advantage of Money Off Monday, purchasing dollar sodas and dollar hot dogs! The Hoppers do a great job with the promotional nights and between inning games. Tonight the crowd was a little thin, but to those of us that waited out the rain, it was worth it. Because win or lose, THERE IS NO QUIT in our boys. That is what makes me proud to be a Hopper, and that’s also why IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!
Tonight was very fan friendly. There was a corn hole tournament up on Natty’s Hill, there was the between inning games that are always a blast, and post game we had The Band Of Oz performing in the grandstand. It was an incredible day at the ballpark. A friend of mine and me signed up for the corn hole tournament, but I guess everyone was scared of our mad skills because no one else signed up. We still played anyway. And having a good time with a good friend with baseball in the background is definitely a recipe for fun!
Miss Babe RuthThe above picture is a pretty common scene At the ballpark. is a black lab and has been trained to retrieve bats and balls for the players. The game was exciting to watch as well. I took a ton of pictures today and you can view all pictures on the HoppersFan page on Facebook.
So, on to the game…
Kannapolis would strike first in the first inning making it 1-0. The very next inning the Hoppers would score on a solo HOME RUN by Matt Smith. Tying the ballgame at 1-1. Neither team would score again till the 5th inning when Kannapolis would have 3 players cross the plate for a score of 4-1. But as we all know by now, our Hoppers may be down but they are never out! The hoppers would answer with two more runs in the 6th. Making the score 4-3. Kannapolis nor greensboro would score till the bottom of the ninth. Matt Smith would score the tying run on a single by Rand Smith. And like so many games this year, the heart attack hoppers went to extras. It remained 4-4 through the bottom of the 11th.
Here’s the scene: Hoppers tied 4-4. Bottom of the 11th. Matt Smith would single, putting him at first. James Wooster hit a sacrifice bunt advancing Smith to second. Terrence Dayleg would ground out, advancing Smith to 3rd. up walks Wilfredo Gimenez. For those that know me, know that Wilfredo at the beginning of the season, was not one of one my favorite players by far. But he has come a LONG way, and I must say I’m a fan. But, back to today’s game… Wilfredo walks up, 2 outs, Matt Smith on Third. Wilfredo steps up and blast a single just barely over the first baseman’s glove! Matt Smith Scores!!!! HOPPERS WIN! HOPPERS WIN! HOPPERS WIN!
The team rushing the field in celebration!
With an on field temperature of 102 degrees at the first pitch, to say it was hot was an understatement. Spaz always does a seat upgrade during every game promoting LAZY-BOY recliners. He has dubbed this “the best seats in the house”. These “best seats” consist of four recliners at the top of the seating bowl behind home plate. Tonight, the “best seats in the house” clearly was out in the SUNBRELLA zone located in right field. Sitting there underneath umbrellas with an ice cold Mountain Dew, a great friend, and baseball. What’s better than that? Yeah. A win would’ve capped it off, but when you have secured the northern division playoff spot, I’m okay with just enjoying games for the sake of enjoying them.
Tonights game was enjoyable from a Hoppers standpoint as well. I got to witness Austin Barnes slam his 4th home run tonight! Which I love seeing guys like that perform well. Aaron Senne and Austin Barnes hit homers tonight. Both great guys doing great things in the diamond. Tonight was Aaron’s 3rd homer in four nights. That is quite the accomplishment! Hoppers were facing the Hickory Crawdads, which coming into tonight were 7-2 in the second half, and are currently in first place. Needless to say, the heat wasn’t the only struggle our boys were going to have to overcome.
Pitchers tonight were the newly acquired Scott Lyman, who pitched 5.2 innings, allowed 8 hits and four strikeouts. Greg Nappo threw 1.1 innings, allowed 3 hits and 4 strikeouts. Nappo would be relieved by Jose Rodreguez would pitch 1 inning, allowing 1 hit and 1 strikeout. Brad Mincy then came up to finish off the night, allowing 2 hits and no strikeouts.
The big hitters of the night were, Aaron Senne with a two run homer to right field. Austin Barnes slamming his homer in the bottom of the ninth. Aaron Senne went 3-4 tonight and Austin Barnes went 4-1, with his home run being his lonely hit on the night. Ryan Goetz also went 3-1 on the night. Hoppers fell to the Crawdads to a score of 11-4. With this loss the Hoppers drop to 4-5 in the second half standings and currently three games back. Come and check out your Hoppers tomorrow for another scorcher. Temperature tomorrow is predicted to be around 105. Maybe, it’ll be just hot enough to steam some Crawdads. As always, this is Jordan Stowe, and IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!