The Greensboro Grasshopper’s have found a weapon that is proving to be lethal early in this 2006 season. Gabby Sanchez has been putting a hurting on the ball having already hit 7 homeruns just 11 games into the campain. The Hoppers are leaving town for Lakewood, New Jersey on a four game road trip and the Hops have taken to the road with a 7-4 record. Greensboro’s entry into the South Atlantic League went 5-3 in their opening home stand and then won two of three games up in Hickory against the Crawdads.
The Grasshoppers are receiving excellent support at the plate from Sanchez and hopes are that he is just getting warmed up. The Florida Marlins have both Brad McCann and Juan Figueroa at the next level down in Jupiter, Florida and then there’s Ryan Bear at Double A, with the Carolina Mudcats, so here’s hoping the upper brass will leave Sanchez in place right here in the Gate City and that the Hoppers will be able to build on their early success.
Sanchez has been killing the ball and he is getting help from teammates Andy Jenkins and Kris Harvey both well above .400 as we head toward the 3rd week of the season. Augustin Septimo has been splendid at shortstop and he just keeps on adding to his excellency, topping his previous plays nearly every outing. Septimo is one to watch, but the Marlins have invested a truck-load of money on Robert Andino and they still plan to make him the every-day player at short in the near future.
Chris Volstad has been steady after some rough edges in his first start, and now he has gone 2-0 in his two most recent starts, one at home and one on the road up in Hickory. Volstad has been able to go 7 deep innings in his last two trips to the mound and he is becoming the man the Hoppers will be giving the ball to at the beginning of their rotation. Daniel Barone got the call for Sean West at the number four spot in the rotation and Barone was what manager Brandon Hyde calls a Bulldog and he went 7 and the Hoppers staff missed a perfect game by just four outs. Barone became a 6-0 winner against the Crawdads and his record stood at 2-0 after the shutout victory. West should be back in the rotation somewhere after some front office paper work is completed.
The Hopper fans set a new record last Thursday night and nobody went home thirsty as 10,137 Hopper faithful showed up for the last game of the homestand. We hope the records keep falling and that Hops management will open the flood gates a few more times and see if they can top the all-time Greensboro baseball record of over 12,000 fans set back in 1979. Greensboro was with the Reds back in ’79 and the star player was Gary Redus who later made it to the bigs and stuck around for more than a decade in the majors.
Hoppers baseball seems to be the “IN” thing to do in Greensboro these days and lot of credit should go to the guys driving the “Thirsty Thursday” beverage trucks and let’s give credit to Spaz the guy that keeps the Family Baseball Party moving at Thirst Horizon Park, wait a minute that’s First Horizon Park. Fun is the word and the Hoppers will back home on Saturday and make it a point to get out the ballpark during the three game stand and don’t forget that next Monday’s game(April 24) is an 11am start for the school-kids at the ballpark.