Bill Hass on Baseball:Dean makes sure Shorebirds don’t sweep

Posted by Press Release on April 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm under Professional | Comments are off for this article

“We weren’t going to make it three in a row,”(losses to Delmarva) Austin Dean said. “We’re just struggling a little right now, but we’re going to be fine. I think we’re the best-hitting team in the league.”

from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) ar

Dean makes sure Shorebirds don’t sweep

After two close losses to Delmarva, the Hoppers didn’t want it to happen again.

And Saturday night, Austin Dean made sure it didn’t.

The designated hitter doubled in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Hoppers a 3-1 victory in the final game of the short series.

“We weren’t going to make it three in a row,” Dean said. “We’re just struggling a little right now, but we’re going to be fine. I think we’re the best-hitting team in the league.”

In the bottom of the 11th, Delmarva reliever Dennis Torres hit leadoff batter Yefri Perez. Justin Bohn laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Perez to second. The Shorebirds gave an intentional walk to Felix Munoz to set up a possible double play.

With the outfielders playing in a couple of steps for a potential play at the plate, Dean lifted one to the opposite field over the head of right fielder Hector Veloz to score Perez.

“I wasn’t looking for anything special, just something to drive, and I got a fastball away,” Dean said. “I’m happy that we finished off the series with a win.”

Avery Romero then finished off Dean with the traditional pan full of shaving cream to his face.

This series featured fickle April weather with temperatures in the 50s, an often stiff wind and a light but steady rain. Fans were bundled in heavy coats and parkas with hoods and wrapped in blankets.

Starting pitchers weren’t bothered by the conditions. Greensboro’s Max Garner and Delmarva’s Sebastian Vader were both sharp. Vader pitched seven fine innings, allowing four hits, one of them a solo homer by Munoz. His 12 RBIs lead the team.

Garner had gotten the win against the Shorebirds last Sunday in Delmarva, pitching five innings, allowing two runs and striking out eight. This time he was even better, throwing six shutout innings, giving up four hits and recording eight strikeouts.

“I didn’t want to throw in the same patterns as the last time and be too predictable,” Garner said.

It was the third straight outstanding start for the Hoppers, following Domingo German Thursday and Sean Townsley Friday.

“It’s really fun to watch these guys pitch,” said pitching coach Jeremy Powell. “And I can’t say enough about the way the catchers (Chad Wallach and Sharif Othman) have handled them.”

Sean Donatello, who has been excellent out of the bullpen, followed Garner and pitched a scoreless seventh. But in the eighth he surrendered a no-doubt solo homer to Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of Hall of Fame Boston outfielder Carl, that tied the game. Casey McCarthy pitched the ninth and C.J. Robinson the 10th and 11th to pick up the win.

The pitchers, who struck out 15, got themselves out of several jams as Delmarva left 15 runners on base. Garner got a strikeout to leave the bases loaded in the second and stranded two more runners in the sixth. Donatello left two on in the eighth and McCarthy worked around a leadoff double and an intentional walk with the help of two strikeouts in the ninth.

Robinson, who has a sidearm delivery, hit a batter and gave up an infield hit in the 10th but ended it with a strikeout. With runners on second and first and one out in the 11th, he got a groundout and a strikeout to end the threat.

“He has developed that (delivery) over the years,” Powell said. “He gets the ball over the plate and it creates some run on the ball and some movement. It’s a different look.”

Manager David Berg said he’s happy with the Hoppers’ 8-8 record. They were limited to 17 hits in the series, but he’s confident the team will swing the bats well again.

“Dean had been scuffling and he hit three balls on the screws tonight,” Berg said. “There are signs of guys getting better. We’re still getting too many outs on first-pitch swings and late in the game sometimes we try to do too much and overswing.”

The pitching has been keeping games close. In six of the eight losses, the Hoppers have been outscored by a total of nine runs.

The Hoppers will take Easter Sunday off, then embark on a seven-game road trip four at Rome and three at Hickory. After another day off, they return home on April 29

Comments are closed.