Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers offense remains in collective slump

Posted by Guest Columnist on June 5, 2015 at 10:50 am under Professional | Comments are off for this article

Hoppers offense remains in collective slump
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at

It was unusually cool for a June night on Thursday, but that was nothing compared to the continued chill of the Hoppers’ offense.

Hagerstown scored a pair of late runs to hang a 3-1 loss on the Hoppers at NewBridge Bank Park. Greensboro was limited to five hits.

In their last four games, the Hoppers have been shut out twice and limited to one run in another. Thursday’s run scored on an error, so that’s three games without an RBI.

“Good hitting is contagious and bad hitting is contagious,” said manager Kevin Randel. “All we can do is stay positive and patient and wait for the bats to come around. You don’t want to get down on these guys. They need to keep their heads up and maybe things will turn around.”

Randel is looking for a spark from anyone, but several players are mired in deep slumps. Justin Twine is hitless in his last 30 at-bats. Austen Smith is 2-for-22, Rony Cabrera 2-for-18 and Mason Davis 2-for-14. Brian Schales got a game off from his 1-for-15 slide.

It wasn’t just lack of clutch hitting — the Hoppers couldn’t make the Suns pay for four errors, failed to move runners up on several occasions and had a runner picked off third base.

“That all equates to losing baseball,” Randel said.

Pitching kept the Hoppers in the game, which was 1-1 through seven innings. Drew Steckenrider gave up an unearned run in five innings and C.J. Robinson, who was with the Hoppers last season and just rejoined the club, retired all four hitters he faced. Kyle Fischer gave up a solo home run in the eighth and a run on a double in the ninth and rook the loss.

“Steckenrider battled without his best stuff,” said pitching coach Jeremy Powell. “He mixed up his pitches, used his fastball on both sides of the plate and did a nice job. Robinson hadn’t gotten a lot of work lately so we wanted to get him in there and get his feet wet.”

The teams play again Friday night at 7 p.m.

NOTES: Of the Hoppers’ five hits, three were by Zach Sullivan and two by K.J. Woods, all singles … Catcher Rodrigo Vigil threw out two runners attempting to steal … Left fielder Austen Smith made a diving catch of a sinking line drive in the 7th inning … Robinson pitched in 14 games with Jupiter, posting a 3.15 ERA with 11 walks and 16 strikeouts in 20 innings. With the Hoppers last season he was 6-4 with a 4.10 ERA, one save, 26 walks and 38 strikeouts … Tyler Kane was put on the Batavia roster to make room for Robinson.

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