Howdy, Hoppers fans! Greg here. Yes, I’ve been away from the blog for most of the season, but I’m back tonight while Jordan was covering high school football. Once again, I’d like to extend a huge than-you to Jordan for keeping the blog going this season while I’ve been busy with a new job, in a new town, and a new baby. I only made it out to 2 or 3 games this year, but I sure enjoyed reading about the season from the blogs and pictures that Jordan posted throughout the season. THANK YOU, Jordan!
This was the scene at the end of tonight’s game:
Why are the players dousing themselves in champagne? Because the Greensboro Grasshoppers beat the Hagerstown Suns by a score of 7-5, and in so doing, they became the 2012 SAL NORTHERN DIVISION CHAMPIONS! Now they will move on to defend last year’s SAL Championship and look to bring home the prize two years in a row. I especially like how, in this photo, team owner Donald Moore is simply standing just outside of the celebration and watching.
The game started out in what I’d describe as a bit of a pitcher’s duel. Things remained scoreless until the bottom of the third, when the Hoppers just started tearing everything up. Ryan Rieger walked and advanced to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt from Austin Nola. Then Wilfredo Giminez hit a monster homer to Natty’s hill, bringing in 2 runs. Next up, Ryan Goetz, who doubles. He’s followed by Austin Barnes, who homers, brining in two more runs. No one else would score that inning, but it energized the crowd, and put Greensboro in a solid position. Pitcher Jake Esch was throwing a no hitter, pretty much 3 up, 3 down. I wad exited, feeling good.
Check out Austin Barnes coming to the plate after hitting his home run:
Then we made it to the fifth inning.
Check out the official recap for the details, but the short version is that Hagerstown scored 4 runs of their own while the Greensboro defense fell apart. Esch was replaced by Brad Mincey to get the final out of the inning and stop the bleeding. I was starting to get worried about the Hoppers’ ability to secure the win. But they responded with 2 runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth: Ryan Goetz and Brent Keys each made it across the plate. The Hoppers never lost the lead again — 2 scoreless innings, then each team scored a run in the eighth (Ryan Goetz made it home on a beautiful sacrifice fly from Austin Barnes). Hagerstown was unable to score in the ninth, and the game was over.
As always, the Hoppers put on great between-inning entertainment. Tonight’s mascot race featured young Hoppers Fan photo corespondent Eli racing Guilford around the bases. Here’s Eli breaking the finish tape (you might want to click the picture to see the bigger version…):
It was really exciting to be at the park for the Hoppers to sweep the Suns. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it out to any of the league playoff games, but I’m going to try!
For more insight in tonight’s game, check out Bill on Baseball: “I’ll take our chances with anybody.” Bill talked with a lot of people after the game and got a lot of great quotes.
Good luck, Hoppers! Let’s see if you can bring home another trophy this year!
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?
Delmarva Shorebirds were in town today for the last day game of the season. It was also Money off monday which meant one dollar beer, sodas, and hot dogs. We talk about all the time about the Grasshoppers being “the HEART ATTACK HOPPERS”. Well today’s rally proved that. They were down but definitely not out. Greensboro would strike first in the third inning on Wilfredo’s second homer of the season. Austin Barnes would later cross the plate for the Hoppers in that inning. And just when everyone started getting comfortable, Kevin Cravey would allow four runs to come in. Which made the score 4-2 in the bottom of the 5th inning with the shorebirds on top. After a pitching change for the Hoppers, the Shorebirds would stay scoreless the rest of the game.
IT’S RALLY TIME!!! Eriq and Josh sporting their Rally Caps
And just like many times before this season, It was RALLY TIME! We love the Rally dance at the ballpark. And today was nothing short of that. In the Seventh inning Aaron Senne would rob Mike Planeta of a home run. In the bottom of the seventh, Brent Keys would single sending Matt Smith home to make the score 4-3. The very next batter, Ryan Goetz, would send a sacrifice fly out sending Ryan McIntyre across the plate tying the game 4-4. And on to extras we go… Greensboro is at bat in the bottom of the 11th, Ryan McIntyre flies out to left fielder Mike Planeta. ONE OUT. Wilfredo Gimenez singles on a ground ball to left fielder Mike Planeta. Brent Keys would single on a line drive to center fielder Roderick Bernadina. Wilfredo Gimenez would advance to 2nd. Ryan Goetz singles on a ground ball to right fielder Brenden Webb. Wilfredo Gimenez to 3rd. Brent Keys to 2nd. BASES LOADED. ONE OUT. Austin Barnes strikes out swinging. TWO OUTS, BASES STILL LOADED. Aaron Senne “SENNE IN THE CITY” singles on a ground ball to center fielder Roderick Bernadina. Wilfredo Gimenez scores. HOPPERS WIN! HOPPERS WIN! HOPPERS WIN! The final score was 5-4 in 11 innings.
The Hoppers Shot down the Birds tonight to advance to 21-24 in the second half and 4 games behind the first place West Virginia Power. The Hoppers can be seen next in ROME, GA against the Rome Braves. First Pitch is at 7pm Wednesday night. Be sure to tune in to Greensborosports.com for all game audio and video of all home games. Greensborosports.com is the place to go for all your grasshopper and greensboro sports needs.
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!
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: 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!
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
Between the threat of thunderstorms, a hundred degree heat, and the holiday weekend the stands sat a little empty today. If they had been there they would have witnessed Aaron Senne hit a perfect game at four hits and four at bats. They would also have witnessed Wooster’s superman catch over the Mercedes sign in midfield for the 3rd out in the 9th. Had that hit not been caught out of the sky the game would have been over in nine, with the Hickory Crawdads on top.
Aaron Senne had a phenomenal game today with four hits at four at bats. A Ryan Goetz homer out to right field looked like it made a u-turn at the sun, before coming back down. John Shultz had a good day as well, having 3 hits on 6 at bats and sliding in to score a run in the second. Between Ryan Goetz homer in the first and Shultz score in the second, the Hoppers would not be able to mount anything for another 10 innings. The Hoppers would go down 4-2 to the Hickory Crawdads.
Starting pitcher on the mound today was Jose Urena. He would sling six innings, allow five hits and 3 strikeouts. He would be relieved by Daniel Oliver who would pitch two innings, allow no hits and two strikeouts. Greg Nappo would start out the ninth inning and pitch three innings, allowing one hit and three strikeouts. Losing pitcher on the day was Chris Shafer. He allowed four hits, no strikeouts, and the two winning runs.
With the loss today the Hoppers drop to 51-30 overall and 5-6 in the second half. The Hoppers are still only 3 games back courtesy of some other losses around the league this week. The Hoppers will be back at home tomorrow night facing the first place Hickory Crawdads. Hope to see you out there, and remember, WIN OR LOSE, IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!
(Photo Courtesy of Don Moore)
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!
Between all the malfunctions tonight on the field, I don’t really know where to begin. I must say I was a little disoriented not having the scoreboard up and running. I guess with all the use it got during the ACC Tournament last week, it had about all it could take. The scoreboard was off for the majority of the game. I know this had to play to Hagerstown advantage. I say that because the scoreboard went off in the third inning and the Hagerstown Suns scored 6 runs that inning. Charlie Lowell was the pitcher on the mound. Thankfully, we have an awesome PA Announcer in Jim Scott that gave us the pitching counts and so forth. However, it was distracting to the players I’m sure.
The reason for the TUMS after the 6 run inning is this… Everyone around the ballpark by now know that you truly can’t count out the Hoppers. Greensboro Baseball just has a will to win that can not be matched. In the top of the fifth, Hagerstown would score again, making it 7-0. Thats a mighty steep hill to climb to most. Good thing the Hoppers strapped on their cleats and started to climb. In the bottom of the 5th, Wilfredo Gimenez would cross the plate off of a Terrence Dayleg single. Which while I’m at it, Wilfredo had an excellent game tonight, I thought. But he would cross the plate making it 7-1. Hagerstown would then score two more in the ninth inning. Just as everyone stood to put their rally caps on, bottom of the ninth, Matt Smith gets a walk, heads to first. Next pitch, Wilfredo would single, moving Matt Smith to second. Austin Barnes would then be walked to load the bases. Up walks Ryan Goetz to the plate… GRAND SLAM HOME RUN to unload the bases!!! This would make the score 9-6 in the bottom of the ninth, Hagerstown’s favor. James Wooster steps up to the plate, line drive single causing Terrence Dayleg to score. Making it 9-7, and that would end up as the final. This game was an incredible game to be at and to proudly be able to claim to be a part of this Greensboro Baseball family.
This game tonight proves that on today, Memorial Day, soldiers fight under the same flag our boys fought back on the field tonight. And just like the many soldiers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, and our very own Grasshoppers, tonight… I SALUTE YOU! And it is with that sentiment that I say it is, and always will be, a GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!