Bill Hass on Greensboro Grasshoppers Playoff Baseball:2011 Hoppers fall short in Jupiter

Posted by Press Release on September 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm under Professional | Comments are off for this article

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2011 Hoppers fall short in Jupiter

The magic the Hoppers captured when they won the South Atlantic League championship in 2011 ran out in the Florida State League.

The Jupiter Hammerheads, whose roster consisted mainly of Hoppers promoted from last season, fell to the Lakeland Flying Tigers 2-0 Wednesday night. Lakeland won the series 3-2.

Manager Andy Haines and a host of former Hoppers were seeking their second straight ring. They captured the SAL title in dramatic fashion last season, winning the fourth and fifth games at Savannah after being down 2-1.

Ironically, this time they went up 2-1 but lost the fourth and fifth games.

Wednesday’s game was taut, with no score through seven innings. Robert Morey started and pitched shutout ball for that long, allowing one hit and one walk and striking out 8. But Lakeland scratched out two runs in the bottom of the eighth against Rett Varner and Michael Brady. A throwing error by catcher J.T. Realmuto led to the first run.

Meanwhile, Jupiter only managed four hits off two Lakeland pitchers. Noah Perio, a key player in the championship last year, had two of those. Mark Canha and Dallas Poulk had the others. The first three hitters — Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Ryan Fisher — each went 0-4.

Perio doubled with two outs in the ninth but Realmuto grounded out to the pitcher to end the game.

The result eliminated the chance that several Hoppers promoted from this year’s team would have a chance to be part of two championships in one season. Pitchers Jose Fernandez and Adam Conley and shortstop Terrence Dayleg all became regulars in the Hammerheads lineup.

The 2012 Hoppers, of course, are tied 1-1 with Asheville in the championship series. The remaining games will be played in Greensboro, starting with the third one tonight.

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