Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers go small ball in 4-3 victory

Posted by Guest Columnist on June 26, 2014 at 10:05 am under Professional | Comments are off for this article

“It doesn’t matter how you get it done, you just get it done,” said hitting coach Frank Moore.

Hoppers go small ball in 4-3 victory
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at…..

After using a bludgeon for two games, the Hoppers turned to small ball Wednesday night.

They banged out 12 hits — all singles — and bunched enough of them together to beat Lakewood 4-3.

“It doesn’t matter how you get it done, you just get it done,” said hitting coach Frank Moore.

They got it done by coming back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 and breaking a 3-3 tie. Early in the game they were hitting line drives right at the BlueClaws defense and some fly balls that were caught on the warning track. J.T. Riddle’s fly was caught with the right fielder’s shoulders against the billboard.

But eventually things went Greensboro’s way. Avery Romero singled home a run in the fourth, scoring Rehiner Cordova. In the sixth, Chad Wallach singled in one run and Cody Keefer got an RBI when his slow grounder off the end of his bat to third base couldn’t be fielded and went for a hit.

“It all evens out,” Keefer said. “You can hit balls right at people for outs and then get hits on one like that.”

In the bottom of the seventh, things evened out for Riddle with an infield hit. After Cordova hit into a fielder’s choice, Carlos Lopez walked and Romero delivered his second RBI single up the middle, scoring Cordova.

Lopez, playing center field for the first time this season — he’s normally a corner outfielder and has also played first base — made a big defensive play in the eighth. With two outs and Zach Green on second base, Mitch Walding singled to short center field. Lopez came in quickly and got his throw away to Wallach, who applied the tag at home plate.

“He did a tremendous job, especially the way he charged the ball and got rid of it,” manager David Berg said of Lopez. “Some guys want to take four or five steps and then throw, but if you use your momentum and get the ball in the air, it will beat the runner. He’s got a quick release and he’s accurate.”

Miguel del Pozo, the second of four Hoppers pitchers, picked up the victory, his first of the season. Esmerling de la Rosa pitched a scoreless eighth and Sean Donatello earned his 11th save.

Donatello quickly disposed of the first two hitters, then had an anxious moment when Samuel Hiciano lifted a fly ball to left that drifted and hit the wall in foul territory.

“I left one over the plate and got away with it,” Donatello said.

He came back to throw a slider that Hiciano flailed at to end the game.

“I love it,” he said of the closer’s role. “It’s helping the team win. You can let it all go for one inning and it has some intensity to it.”

Ryan Newell, whose innings are being carefully monitored in the second half, pitched five innings and allowed six hits and two runs with five strikeouts. It was one of his better performances at NewBridge Bank Park, where he’s 0-4 on the season compared to 7-1 on the road. With his first three pitches Newell gave up a single, threw a wild pitch and gave up another single to score a run. But he regrouped after that.

“He’s faced (Lakewood) a couple of times and he tried to be too fine with his sinker,” said pitching coach Jeremy Powell. “For me, it wasn’t his best outing but he limited the damage.”

The Hoppers wrap up this series, and the eight-game home stand, with tonight’s 7 o’clock game. Jarlin Garcia will start for Greensboro.

NOTES: Cordova, who reached base five times Tuesday, got hits his first two at-bats to extend his streak to seven before finally being retired … Romero had three hits and Cordova, Wallach and Keefer had two each … Justin Bohn’s promotion to Jupiter was what Berg called a “trickle up” effect. An injury at Triple-A New Orleans meant Double-A Jacksonville sent a player there, high A Jupiter sent one to Jacksonville and Bohn moved to the Hammerheads. He might eventually return to the Hoppers, but Berg said “he deserves a chance to play” at a higher level.

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