Tagged: kannapolis intimidators

Despite hit advantage, Hoppers drop 8-5 game to Sand Gnats

It’s Money Off Monday, and a beautiful night at the ballpark. Maybe a little cool, but I thought it was comfortable. And with hot dogs and soda just a dollar, I couldn’t ask for a nicer night for baseball.


Well, I guess there’s one thing I could have asked for: a Hoppers win. Here’s how my scoring app put it:

The Greensboro Grasshoppers lost 8-5 at Newbridge Bank Park – Greensboro, NC on Monday, despite outhitting the Savannah Sand Gnats 14 to 13.

Jesus Solorzano had a hot bat for the Hoppers. Solorzano went 3-4, drove in one and scored two runs. He singled in the second and fourth innings and homered in the fifth inning.

Jeffrey Glenn, Cole Frenzel, Jeff Reynolds and Brandon Nimmo helped lead the Sand Gnats. They combined for eight hits and eight RBIs.

The Sand Gnats stayed on top until the final out after taking the lead in the second, scoring three runs on two singles.

Three runs in the bottom of the fourth helped the Hoppers close its deficit to 6-3. An RBI double by Matt Juengel, a groundout by Tony Caldwell, and an RBI single by Yeison Hernandez fueled Hoppers’ comeback. Finally, Logan Taylor induced an inning-ending from Anthony Gomez.

One run in the bottom of the fifth helped the Hoppers close its deficit to 8-4. A solo home run by Solorzano triggered the Hoppers’ comeback. Savannah Sand Gnats stopped the rally after Matthew Koch got Caldwell to ground out.

After pushing across one run in the bottom of the seventh, the Hoppers faced just a 8-5 deficit. A solo home run by Yordy Cabrera set off a short Hoppers rally. Finally, Koch got Cameron Flynn to strike out to end the threat.

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What went wrong? Pitching. The Hoppers pitching was just plain ugly tonight. Balls were all over the place, including hitting batters. When the Sand Gnats did connect with a ball, they were solid hits. They were up on the board with three runs in the 2nd. They extended their lead to six runs in the fourth. The rally the Hoppers started in the bottom of the fourth was pretty exciting, but that’s all they had. Check out the official box score and game recap for all the details. Bill on Baseball also has a recap of the game with some insights from the coach.

Here’s a picture of Chipper Smith, in his Hoppers debut, getting ready to pitch. Smith pitched 2 innings, allowed 5 hits, 2 runs (both earned), and managed 2 strike-outs. He ended his outing with an ERA of 9.0 and hit one batter tonight. Ouch!

Chipper Smith

Well, the night’s not all bad. The Kannapolis Intimidators also lost tonight, so we’re still tied for first in our division. Let’s hope the Hoppers can get their momentum back and start winning some more games.

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


Wilfredo Gimenez Walk Off Single As Hoppers Win It In Extras!

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!

Be sure to check out the  Full Game Recap and Box Score as well as remember to look us up on Facebook for all 45 pictures from tonight.  And as always, IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!


Heart Attack Hoppers do it again!

Wow… Where to start?  Todays day game was truly incredible.  Our boys keep finding the will to win!  I was at home today, as some of you know, today was my wife’s birthday.  We spent most the day celebrating and since she is not a fan of baseball, the game was not on our agenda today.  However, as I know you know, I had my phone close by and ears open because, I on the other hand, can’t be too far from my hoppers.

When I first checked it out it was 3-0 Kannapolis leading in the top of the fourth.  I was very shaken by this because the Hoppers are on a 14 home game winning streak. But they don’t get the name Heart Attack Hoppers for nothing.  I was quickly put to ease when Brent Keys crossed the plate in the bottom of the 4th.  However it was still 3-1 at this point, Greensboro trailing.  In the fifth inning Kannopolis would score again, making it 4-1.  But, all is well, because in the 6th inning Greensboro would score 5 runs.  I was updating on my phone, and it seemed like that inning lasted forever!  Definitely missed being at the ballpark today. But, back to baseball.  Matt Smith sent another one toward the sun and over the fence on a three run homer.  Those five hoppers players to cross the plate that inning were Austin Barnes, Brent Keys, Ryan Reiger, Josh Adams, Matt Smith. Kannapolis scored a couple more runs the next two innings and the Hoppers had one a piece for the next inning.  Kannapolis scored twice in the top of the 9th putting them up, 9-8.  I had chiseled my nails down to the bone I was so nervous.  But the hoppers never disappoint.  In the Bottom of the 9th, Ryan Goetz scores off a line drive Single, tying it up.  EXTRA INNINGS!  Both teams remain scoreless in the 10th.  The intimidators remained scoreless in the 11th.  The Grasshoppers saw their chance to end it then, and end it they did!  Ryan Reiger shot one over the fence for a two run homer to win the game!  HOPPERS WIN AGAIN!!!  With that win the Hoppers advance to 28-10 on the season and 14 games straight won at home.  Hoppers remain 6 games ahead of 2nd place.

It is fans like you, and like myself, that make Greensboro Baseball what it’s all about.  Rain or shine, in the stands or not, I bleed Green and Orange.  And it is with that statement that I proudly exclaim… ITS A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!

By the way, I will be at the game tomorrow night with camera.  So look out for some great pictures!


Thanks for the great write-up, Jordan. I was able to catch most of the game on the radio, and it was indeed a case of the Heart Attack Hoppers showing up again. For the official report, check out the box score and game recap. And be sure to also keep an eye on the Bill on Baseball blog for more great Hoppers commentary, including some behind-the-scenes insight from the manager and players on this most recent ugly win.


Hoppers only need 8 to quiet Intimidators

This is becoming a common scene around Greensboro, or so it seems.  But rain or no rain, these bats are heavy!  Pregame it rained all night Sunday night and most the morning.  It cleared up long enough to get in 8 innings.  And in the 8th inning it just came on down.  And with lightening present in the area, they went ahead and called it without a delay.

So what is a game like when the seats are mostly empty?  Interesting.  No YMCA, a lot of the between inning games were done by hoppers staff, as opposed to kids.  One must not forget though, it still was Money off Mondays, 1 dollar hot dogs and 1 dollar drinks.  So all was not a wash. Jack McKeon was around before the game so we got to talk to him and get an autograph to add to my collection.

Ryan Goetz in the outfield

Austin Brice started out the night on the mound.  He threw 5 innings and had 4 strikeouts. Jose Urena pitched 2 innings and had 1 strikeout and allowed no hits!  Greensboro hopped off to an early lead, by the fourth inning it was 8-0.  The Grasshoppers crossing home were: Austin Barnes, Brent Keys, Matt Smith, Aaron Senne, and Ryan Goetz.  Hoppers again get the victory at home over Kannapolis Intimidators by a score of 8-3.  With this win they are now 26-10 on the season!

Once again, it was an exciting game.  Rain or shine, these boys are on fire!  They still have not lost at home since April 11, 2012, 6 days after opening day!    They are now 6 games ahead of second place.  Which means, they can lose the next 5 in a row and still be in first place!!  Thats an awesome place to be.  As always I echo the sentiment heard round the ballpark, IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!


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

One More Trip To Kannapolis

I’m getting ready to take one more trip down to Kannapolis to (hopefully) watch the Grasshoppers do battle with the Intimidators. I say “hopefully,” because there is a lot of rain in the forecast, due to tropical storm Lee. It’s going to come down to the results of two games and the weather. Jeff Mills describes the possibilities in a story in today’s News & Record: Grasshoppers’ playoff drama full of variables. Fortunately, most of the possible outcomes have the Hoppers in the playoffs. But not all of them do, so it’s going to be a tense day watching the game and watching the league scoreboard.

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 Intimidate Intimidators (9/4/2011)

Today’s Greensboro Grasshoppers game against the Kannapolis Intimidators resulted in a Hoppers win (5-3), largely due to home runs by Mark Canha and Isaac Galloway. This also puts the Hoppers just a little closer to a playoff spot, or keeps them just a little farther out of being eliminated, depending on how you want to look at it. Since Hickory lost to Greenville tonight, that final playoff spot is still up for grabs between Greensboro and Kannapolis. The good news is that there are more scenarios that have Greensboro capturing the spot than there are having Kannapolis capturing it. The bad news is that it’s by no means a given that the Hoppers will take it.

Let’s see if I can boil down the scenarios correctly. Hickory is going to the playoffs since they won the first half of the season. They are also currently leading the second half of the season (by a measly half game over Kannapolis), so if they end up winning the second half, Greensboro will progress due to winning the wildcard race. Hickory needs to win tomorrow in order to win the 2nd half. If Hickory does not win tomorrow, either Greensboro or Kannapolis will win the second half, and that will be decided by whoever wins the Hoppers-Intimidators game tomorrow. Short version: Greensboro advances if either Greensboro or Hickory wins tomorrow night, Kannapolis advances if both Kannapolis wins and Hickory loses. Also, there’s a bunch of rain scheduled to start coming tomorrow. Who knows what that will do as far as games getting played, and what the baseball math will be as a result of that. I’m not even going to think about that (but I think if everything gets rained out, the Hoppers are going to the playoffs).

Obviously, the easiest way to keep from being confused is for Greensboro to go back to Kannapolis tomorrow, play a solid game, and secure a win. They can do that. They’ve already done that in three of the four games this series. It won’t be easy — Kannapolis is a great team, and I’m sure they’re going to take the field tomorrow determined to win. The good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise (literally), I’ll be down in Kannapolis again tomorrow to cheer the Hoppers on. If you can go down to help, you should — there has been a decent showing of Hoppers fans at all of the games so far, and I think the team appreciates the support.

So how did today’s game go down? For the most part, nicely. Starting for Greensboro was Alex Caldera. For Kannapolis, Matthew Heldenreich. Danny Black scored the first Hoppers run in the second inning, having reached base on a ground-rule double. He was subsequently batted in on a single by James Wooster. There were no more scoring plays on either side until the sixth inning, when the Hoppers put another two on the board. Mark Canha hit a two-run homer, driving in Marcell Ozuna, who had previously reached on a single. In the bottom of the sixth, Kannapolis left fielder Collin Kuhn scored after having reached on a double. Caldera was pitching a shutout to that point, and as soon as Kuhn scored, he was replaced by Brett Zawacki, who pitched the rest of the sixth and the complete seventh. In the top of the seventh, Isaac Galloway hit a two-run homer, bringing JT Realmuto in with him, who had reached on a single. After Galloway’s homer, Jake Wilson replaced Heldenreich on the mound and pitched the rest of the game for Kannapolis. In the bottom of the seventh, Kannapolis responded with two runs of their own: Ross Wilson and Marcus Semien. Grant Dayton replaced Zawacki for the Hoppers in the eighth and ninth, but no other runs were scored by either team.

Here’s a picture of JT Realmuto congratulating Isaac Galloway after Galloway’s homer:

JT Realmuto Congratulates Isaac Galloway

Here’s a shot of Marcell Ozuna about to hit into a fly out to left. If you look close (you might need to click on the picture to see the big version), you can see the ball whizzing towards Ozuna. It’s right at Andy’s chest.

Marcell Ozuna About To Fly Out

Without the telephoto lens I borrowed yesterday, it was harder to get good pictures of the pitching, but here’s a picture of Alex Caldera throwing it to the plate:

Alex Caldera Pitching

It was an exciting, enjoyable ballgame. Even more so with the right team ending up victorious.

Visiting Kannapolis for Hoppers games is a real treat. As I already mentioned, there were a good deal of familiar faces with other Hoppers fans who came to support the team. The ballpark is generally more quiet than the Greensboro park, and almost everyone at the game seemed to be into the game. The Kannapolis staff is very friendly, even knowing that I’m pulling for their opponents. Today was even more of a treat because Kannapolis is celebrating “Fan Appreciation Weekend,” and as part of that celebration, most of the team was out signing autographs before the game. As a result, I got eleven autographs in the Kannapolis team set:

Kannapolis Autographs

In addition to all the Intimidators autographs, I found Kyle Winters (thanks for pointing him out to me, Pete!) and got him to autograph a couple of 8.5×11 printouts of photos I took from yesterday’s game, where he got the win. I tried not to bother him too much on his “day off” in the stands, but I told him he looked great out there and he said he felt great, too. I’m psyched to add these photos to the small baseball museum I am establishing in an empty cube at my office. I’m definitely looking forward to watching Kyle’s career once he leaves the Hoppers.

Two things made scoring the game easier at Kannapolis than it is at Greensboro: 1) after every inning, the announcer recaps the runs/hits/errors/lob stats for the inning, and 2) between innings, there is still a scoreboard with the game statistics visible. Here’s how I had the game:

9/4/2011 Scorecard: Kannapolis (3) v Greensboro (5)

It’s an exciting time to be a Hoppers fan. I think this is the closest we’ve come to a playoff spot since we’ve been in the new stadium. Tomorrow’s going to be a tense day, watching the Hoppers play hard against Kannapolis and watching the scoreboard for the Hickory game. I just hope that when the sun goes down, the Hoppers are going to the playoffs.

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