Bill Hass on Baseball:Dewitt making most of second chances

Posted by Guest Columnist on April 30, 2014 at 10:57 am under Professional | Comments are off for this article

“I wanted to get a good pitch,” Kentrell Dewitt said, “and he gave me a fastball in, which is my spot. It’s a good feeling.”

from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at www.gsohoppers.com:

Dewitt making most of second chances

Baseball is a game of second chances.

After just missing a game-winning home run in the ninth inning Tuesday, Kentrell Dewitt got another opportunity in the 11th. This time he delivered, ripping a homer that carried the Hoppers to a 4-3 win over the Greenville Drive.

“I wanted to get a good pitch,” Dewitt said, “and he gave me a fastball in, which is my spot. It’s a good feeling.”

In his previous at-bat in the ninth, Dewitt hit a high fly that looked like it had a chance to go out but was caught near the foul line in right field. In the 11th he left no doubt, smoking a drive over the right field fence.

“The previous at-bat I thought I had it but I let my top hand go too early,” he said. “This time I kept both hands on the bat.”

It was Dewitt’s second homer of the season and came off left-handed pitcher Mike Adams.

“I’ve been struggling against lefties,” said Dewitt, a left-handed hitter, “but I wasn’t going to let him defeat me.”

Not only did Dewitt get a second chance Tuesday, this season represents a second chance for him in baseball. Drafted in the 13th round by Miami in 2010, he progressed slowly and took a year off in 2013 to straighten out his personal life.

“I wasn’t focused and I had to get my head straight,” he said. “I had to remember what I was playing for and who I was playing for. The Marlins knew I wasn’t done and they told me when I got the fire back I could come back.”

Dewitt had a good spring training but didn’t make the Hoppers roster initially. After they had a couple of injuries, he was called up from extended spring training. He got three hits in his first game and has kept going strong. Despite going 0-for-8 in his previous two games, Dewitt came back with two hits Tuesday and is hitting .353.

“He’s aggressive, he does his work and he competes against the pitcher,” summed up hitting coach Frank Moore.

The game was played in foggy, chilly, windy weather, which usually gives pitchers and advantage. Hoppers starter Domingo German wasn’t sharp early, though, surrendering runs in each of the first two innings. Then he settled down and threw three shutout innings.

“He got into some deep counts early,” said pitching coach Jeremy Powell, “and his fastball was up in the zone. But he finished great and retired his last seven hitters.”

Joel Effertz and Josh Easley combined to pitch three more scoreless innings. Casey McCarthy gave up a run that tied the game in the ninth, then retired the side in order in the 10th. C.J. Robinson got out of a mess in the 11th and wound up as the winner.

Among the hitters, Chad Wallach had a solo home run and drove in another with a groundout and Austin Dean had an RBI single.

Defense played a key role. Shortstop Justin Bohn speared a hot grounder to start a double play in the seventh inning and second baseman Avery Romero started another in the ninth with a dive and flip to Bohn. In the 11th, third baseman Juan Avila booted a ground ball but stayed with it and nipped the runner with an excellent throw to end the inning.

“Those double plays are huge in a low-scoring game,” said manager David Berg.

The teams play again in NewBridge Bank Park Wednesday. The game time has been changed from 10:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. because of the possibility of severe weather.


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