Tagged: savannah sand gnats

Heart Attack Hoppers Strike Again!

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Newbridge Bank Park (Hoppers Home Stadium)

Wow! What a night at the ballpark!  I don’t know where to begin…  So I’ll start from the beginning of my night out there.  As I walked up to the K zone tonight, where I was mostly hanging out, I saw a familiar face of my friend and Greensborosports.com radio host, Andy Durham.  Andy wanted to take some time and interview Don Moore and myself.  Don about the Hoppers and the Papa John’s K Zone and myself about the blog.  So if you caught any of the pregame on the radio, you heard yours truly! That was a great start to the night to say the least.  I love going out to the ballpark and seeing friends, and now, i guess family.  After three years at the ballpark, I call it my second home.  Which would make all of you, the fans, family.

As I was sitting up at the K Zone I witnessed only my second ever GRAND SLAM out of the park.  Too bad it was for the opposing team.  I decided then, it was a good time to move to the brighter pastures. So to speak.  I’m rather superstitious about that.  Thats why it doesn’t matter what my seat is, I generally am not going to sit in it.  I walk around and mingle with people, talk to fans, players, coaches, families, friends, and most importantly, the vendors.  And I love the Dog Pound this year at the park!  If you haven’t had a Chicago Dog or a Milwaukee Brat you are missing out!  Tonights special dog was the grasshopper dog.  It consisted of a hot dog, slaw, baked beans, stadium sauce, and spicy mustard.  I definitely miss Pat with the Taylor Made Kettle Corn.  With offerings like the steak and Cheese from Pita Delite and the scrumptious pizza from Hungry Howie’s, I think we will be okay!

Onto the game…  Ramon Del Orbe would start the night on the mound for the Hoppers.  He pitched 4 innings, allowed 7 hits, and slung 4 strikeouts.  Sadly though, one of the 7 hits allowed was the Grand Slam home run.  He was quickly replaced by Jheyson Manzueta.  He pitched 3 innings, allowed 2 hits, and no strikeouts.

The excitement for this game came in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Here’s the scenario, Hoppers down by 1.  The score is 5-4 Sand Gnats lead the game.  Jesus Solorzano steps up and smashes a solo home run tying the game at 5 apiece.  Cody Keefer would then triple on a fly ball to center fielder Brandon Nimmo causing Matt Juengel to score.  This would make the Hoppers up by one.  And you know the saying, it’s not over till it’s over… well the Hoppers were not ready for it to be over tonight! In the top of the 9th, the Sand Gnats were just like the bugs they are, and just would not go away.  They would score 3 more times in the 9th inning.  Putting them ahead 8-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.  We have called them this several times on this blog, but the HEART ATTACK HOPPERS have struck again.  With one out, down by 2, Viosergy Rosa would belt a three run walk off home run to win the game! That made the final score 9-8. HOPPERS WIN!  HOPPERS WIN! HOPPERS WIN!

This was definitely an amazing night at the ballpark.  Please don’t forget in order to listen by way of radio you must go through our friends at greensborosports.com.

Box Score and Recap 

Bill on Baseball

Walk off Home runs, grand slams, hot dogs, and friends… thats what makes tonight… A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!

-jordan

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.

GSO v SAV G1

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.

“Powered by Narrative Science and GameChanger Media. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.” Any reuse or republication of this story must include the preceding attribution.

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?

-greg

See ya at the ballpark!
Email: hoppersfan@gmail.com
Twitter: @HoppersFan
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“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

Hoppers Win Division Series, On To Championship

Oh my goodness, the time slipped away from my completely before I was able to write a good review of Friday’s Greensboro Grasshoppers game against the Hickory Crawdads. Short version: the Hoppers won, giving them the Division Title and moving them to the League Championship series against the Savannah Sand Gnats. That series begins tonight in Greensboro.  Game two will be played in Greensboro tomorrow night. Games three, and if necessary, four and five, will be played in Savannah.

The game Friday really was a very enjoyable game to watch, especially since the Hoppers established the lead early and didn’t give it up. Check out Bill on Baseball: Hoppers reaching for the ring for some great quotes from JT Realmuto and Kyle Winters about the Division win and the upcoming Championship series.

And let me leave you with a few pictures from Friday’s game. This first one is of a fan named Beth holding what was the most popular sign for all the Hoppers fans — and team members — at the game:

Here’s Marcell Ozuna swinging. He ended up going 0-5.

Here’s a view of the Hoppers players watching the action on the field while Hickory was pitching.

Here’s the end of the game celebration, as the Hoppers bench empties and they all run on the field to congratulate each other on the win.

Finally, here’s how I had the game scored.

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

Joe Bonadonna Pitching

Hoppers Continue To Fall Apart Against the Sand Gnats (7/31/2011)

The best thing about tonight’s Greensboro Grasshoppers game against the Savannah Sand Gnats was watching Joe Bonadonna pitch. That’s right, Joe Bonadonna (who is listed on the roster as an infielder, but seems capable of playing pretty much any position on the field) took the mound in the ninth inning and managed to get out of the inning only facing three batters. Prior to pitching, he spent the game at shortstop. While he walked the first batter he faced, that batter was subsequently retired on a double play. The third batter flew out to right fielder Marcell Ozuna. Bonadonna was OK on the mound. While one of his pitches didn’t even make it to the plate, he threw several good looking knuckleballs.

Joe Bonadonna Pitching

Joe Bonadonna Pitching

Sadly, watching Bonadonna pitch was almost the only enjoyable thing about watching the Hoppers play today. I say “almost,” because Noah Perio treated us to a triple on his first at bat. That was it. Offensively, the Hoppers couldn’t get anything going, scoring only one run on four hits. The pitching from Tom Peale (giving up 6 runs on 7 hits in 3 1/3 innings), Holden Sprague (also giving up 6 runs on 7 hits in 3 1/3 innings), and Jordan Connley (giving up 1 run on 1 hit) was completely uninspired. Connley seemed so unhappy with his performance that he left the field for the clubhouse immediately after Bonadonna’s outing, with a half inning still left to play.

Check out the official box score and game recap to see the horror in detail.

To add insult to injury for the fans, we had to suffer through 2 rain delays while enduring this poor performance from the team. The first rain delay, lasting about 45 minutes, occurred immediately after Peale threw his warm-up pitches in the first inning — the first batter didn’t even enter the batter’s box. The 2nd delay, lasting about 20 minutes, occurred somewhere around the 3rd inning. By that point, I was hoping for a monster storm to come through and cause the game to be called, as it was already obvious that the Hoppers were going to take a loss if the game went long enough to be official.

Waiting Out The Rain Delay

Waiting Out The Rain Delay

I didn’t get to the ballpark early enough today to get any autographs. Attendance was extremely low, but most of the regulars that I see every game were there, and I talked to just about everyone I knew. Even with the poor performance from the team and the annoying weather, the evening turned out to be enjoyable due to all the friends I got to hang out with.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got. The Hoppers take to the road. They’ll be back in town on the tenth. I hope they’re back on their game by then.

Here’s my scorecard for tonight. It’s probably full of mistakes. But I don’t really care about this one.

Hoppers (1) vs Sand Gnats (13)

Hoppers (1) vs Sand Gnats (13)

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

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

Christian Yelich at bat, solo homer.

Morey’s Masterful Complete Game Shutout (7/29/2011)

Robert Morey pitching a complete game shut-out.

After the eighth inning of last night’s Greensboro Grasshoppers game against the Savannah Sand Gnats, my friends and I were wondering hoping that they’d let Robert Morey come back in for the 9th, in an attempt to get a complete game. He had been pitching great all night, facing only four over the minimum at that point. He had racked up 9 strikeouts and no walks. It hadn’t even registered to me that he was pitching a shutout. During the bottom of the eighth, they were warming up Michael Ojala, so we weren’t sure who was going to start the ninth. When Morey took the field, we were giddy with excitement. The first batter went down on a 6-3 groundout. The second batter made us nervous when he got into scoring position on a stand up double. But the third and fourth batters were easily retired with fly balls to left and center field and the game was over. Hoppers over the Sand Gnats, 5-0.

Robert Morey pitched a complete game.

Robert Morey pitched a complete game shutout.

I’ve never seen a pitcher pitch a complete game. I don’t think it happens very often in Low-A ball. To watch Morey work the game and secure a complete game shutout was a real thrill. The event was noteworthy enough that MiLB.com ran a story about the game. According to that article, Morey’s been lacking confidence this season, but last night’s game probably helped him in that regard. He notes that he’s happy with his curveball and the fact that he was throwing first-pitch strikes helped give him the confidence that his stuff was just where it needed to be. And in what I think is an incredibly classy move, he gives credit to catcher Jacob Realmuto for calling a great game.

Offensively, the Hoppers looked good, too. Three of our five runs were solo homers: Marcell Ozuna in the first, Christian Yelich in the third, and James Wooster in the fourth. The other two runs came in the seventh from Noah Perio and another run from Ozuna.

Christian Yelich at bat, solo homer.

Marcell Ozuna at bat, bunts a single and advances to 2nd on the throw to 3rd. Everyone safe.

For all the details on the game, check out the official box score, game recap, and a story that the Sand Gnats published.

Lately, I’ve been showing up early to the games to watch batting practice from Eugene Street and snag BP balls. Last night, my wife and I decided to get supper before the game (we went downtown to the Mellow Mushroom, always a treat), and that ate into all of my BP time. We did drive by the ballpark on the way to supper, though, and I spotted a ball on the sidewalk against the fence. I pulled the car over and jumped out to retrieve it and found another ball along the fence on my way to pick that one up. BAM! Out of the car for 20 seconds and I snagged 2 more balls for my collection. The sweet spots were either too scuffed up or stained to make them good autograph balls, so they’ll probably find their way into the hands of a kid at the ballpark someday.

Once in the park, I concentrated on collecting more autographs on my card set and was very successful. I got autographs from Isaac Galloway, Noah Perio, Danny Black (who is sporting a pretty awesome “Second Half ‘Stache” now), Wilfredo Gimenez, Grant Dayton, Jordan Conley, Mike Ojala, and Michael Brady. I also had a quick chat with Kyle Winters, who is always friendly. His family made it out to the park for the last home stand, and I got to meet his mother (who sometimes comments in this blog as “catherine”). They’re all great people and Kyle said he was glad I got a chance to meet them.

Autographs: Isaac Galloway, Noah Perio, Danny Black, Wilfredo Gimenez, Grant Dayton, Jordan Conley, Mike Ojala, Michael Brady

After the first inning, I spent the evening watching the game from Section 110, next to the visitors dugout, with some friends. I think I’m going to move my season ticket to that area next year. I’m going to miss the tunnel area, but the view from that close is so much better, and it’s fun to heckle the opposing team.

Today’s one of the monthly season ticket holder Saturdays, where they’ll let us in the ballpark an hour early to watch batting practice, maybe hear a talk from a coach or players, and enjoy some complementary snacks. This is something new that they’re doing this year, and not many season ticket holders are taking advantage of it. I hope they keep it up because it’s a really nice perk.

Anyway, here’s how I had the game. I know of at least one error on my card: in the 2nd, Jet Butler was out on a dropped third strike, 2-3, not the 5-3 ground out I recorded. And I haven’t done the stats yet. I’m going to be keeping my eye out for Robert Morey for the rest of the season and try to get him to autograph this scorecard.

Scorecard: Robert Morey pitches a complete game shutout.

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