Bill Hass on Baseball:Dewitt’s 5 RBIs carry Hoppers past Power

Posted by Guest Columnist on June 1, 2014 at 10:57 pm under Professional | Comments are off for this article

from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at…..

Dewitt’s 5 RBIs carry Hoppers past Power

Kentrell Dewitt continued his hitting tear Sunday and teammate Justin Bohn believes he knows why.

Dewitt went 3-for-5 and drove in five runs to lift the Hoppers to an 8-3 win over West Virginia. Greensboro completed a 5-2 home stand and headed out for a long bus ride to Lakewood Sunday night.

His three hits stretched Dewitt’s hitting streak to nine games, during which he has gone 18-for-39 with three homers and 13 RBIs.

“I’ve never had a hitting streak like this in my life,” Dewitt said.

Bohn’s voice then piped up in the locker room: “Tell him whose bats you’re using.”

Dewitt laughed and admitted Bohn had given him a bat Saturday and another Sunday.

“Each time I’ve given him one he’s hit a homer on his first at-bat,” Bohn said. “I don’t mind him using them as long as he keeps driving in runs.”

Dewitt, a left-handed hitter, cracked a three-run homer in the first inning, added an RBI single in the seventh inning and another in the eighth.

The home run, his fifth, was yanked down the right field line and stayed fair. Saturday night, Dewitt hit one that cleared the fence in the left field corner.

“That’s the definition of using the whole field,” said hitting coach Frank Moore. “He’s seeing the ball good and getting a lot of hard-hit balls. I hope he can take that and keep going.”

Perhaps Dewitt’s biggest RBI came in the seventh. The Hoppers had been stuck on a 4-3 lead for several innings, leaving a load of runners stranded. After Carlos Lopez opened with a double and went to third on a wild pitch, Dewitt singled through the Power’s drawn-in infield.

“I just stayed with my approach and tried to hit the ball harder,” he explained.

“That was a huge hit,” said manager David Berg. “We had been leaving guys out there and he came through.”

That made it 5-3 and the Hoppers put things away with three runs in the eighth. After three walks loaded the bases, Felix Munoz hit a sacrifice fly, Dewitt singled in a run and Chad Wallach’s single brought in the third.

Lopez made a fine defensive play that prevented West Virginia from tying the score in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Danny Collins singled and Erich Weiss followed with a double into the Power’s bullpen in right field.

Lopez hustled over to get the ball and threw home to Wallach. The throw was up the third base line, but Wallach made a swipe tag to get Collins on the shoulder and end the inning.

“I knew the runner would try to score and I would have to throw the ball quickly,” Lopez said. “I picked it up and made a 180-degree spin to throw it home. I thought I had it too far up the line, but Chad made a nice play on it.”

Those plays helped starter Jarlin Garcia post his fifth of the season. The left-hander wasn’t as sharp as his previous two outings, giving up three runs in five innings, but pitching coach Jeremy Powell said he limited the damage.

The bullpen backed Garcia up with a strong effort of four shutout innings. Chad Crabaugh pitched two, C.J. Robinson added one and Esmerling de la Rosa finished it off in the ninth.
It was only the second appearance for Crabaugh, added to the roster when James Wooster went on the disabled list.

“He pitches inside and he’s aggressive in the zone,” Powell said. “He hadn’t pitched in six days and Robinson in seven, so it was good for them to come in and be able to get outs. All three guys did an outstanding job, which is what you need to win games.”

Hagerstown split a doubleheader so the Hoppers gained half a game on the Suns and now trail them by 4 1/2 games with 15 to play in the first half. Red-hot Delmarva won again and moved to within three games.

“We’ve been looking at the scoreboard lately because they put the standings on the video board before every game,” Lopez said. “We can only control what we can do.”

Dewitt said he hadn’t paid too much attention to the standings, but added “this team is good enough to win it all. We just have to stay consistent and keep winning games.”

The Hoppers, who have won nine of 11, will play four games in three days at Lakewood, with a doubleheader Tuesday. They return home Thursday to face Hagerstown for four games, their only meetings with the Suns in the first half.

NOTES: Second baseman Avery Romero is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list Monday. As of Sunday evening, the Hoppers hadn’t been told how the roster space would be cleared for his return … Lopez, who had his 12-game hitting streak stopped Saturday, began another with a single and double. He also scored three runs.

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