Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers playing for pennant today

Posted by Press Release on June 15, 2014 at 12:45 am under Professional | Comments are off for this article

Hoppers playing for pennant today

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

It comes down to this: Win on Sunday and the Hoppers are first-half champions of the Northern Division.

Greensboro beat Kannapolis 4-2 Saturday night while Hagerstown lost to Greenville 3-1. The result left the Hoppers and Suns tied for first place with records of 43-26. On the final day of the first half, with a berth in the South Atlantic League playoffs at stake, the Hoppers play at Kannapolis at 2 p.m. with Domingo German the scheduled starter. Hagerstown hosts Greenville at 5 o’clock.

Greensboro owns the tie-breaker in head-to-head competition because it beat Hagerstown three out of four. That leaves three scenarios Sunday.

1. If the Hoppers beat Kannapolis, they win the first half no matter what Hagerstown does in the later game.

2. If the Hoppers lose but Hagerstown also loses, Greensboro still wins the first half.

3. If the Hoppers lose and Hagerstown wins, the Suns win the pennant.

The Hoppers put themselves in this position by simply refusing to lose. When they dropped the first of four games to Hagerstown on June 5, they were seven games behind with 10 games remaining. Since then, the Hoppers have won nine straight games while Hagerstown has gone 2-7.

Pitching during the streak, both starters and the bullpen, has been exceptional and Saturday was no different. Ryan Newell deliver 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs. He scattered 10 hits and struck out nine. Miguel del Pozo relieved him with a man on first in the bottom of the eighth and got Christian Stringer to ground out unassisted to first baseman Felix Munoz to end the inning.

Sean Donatello entered in the top of the ninth and was greeted by a single by Tyler Williams. But Donatello struck out Tyler Shryock and Hunter Jones and got Cleuluis to fly out to center field to end the game. Donatello earned his 10th save and preserved Newell’s seventh win.

The Hoppers wasted no time scoring, with leadoff hitter Yefri Perez doubling to start the game and J.T. Riddle following with an RBI single. Riddle added another RBI in the top of the third with a double that scored Rehiner Cordova. Riddle scored on a groundout by Munoz.

In the seventh inning, Perez singled and stole second and Riddle lined a single to center field that scored him. It was Riddle’s third RBI of the game.

Overall, the Hoppers have won 20 of their last 25 games.

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