Run Delay at First Horizon Park and Smiths Make N&R

The rain did not make an appearance on the 4th of July at the baseball stadium, but there was definitely a Run Delay at First Horizon Park. No Rain Delay, but a big Run Delay, as the Greensboro Grasshoppers fell 5-0 to the Greenville Drive in front of a record crowd of 10,260 fans. Greenville(Boston Red Sox farmhands) connected for two homeruns, two triples, and three doubles and with three big runs in the top of the second inning Greenville was in OverDrive and never looking back.

The Hoppers have to hope that the Runs that they could not get on the board on Tuesday will be showing up early and often on Wednesday. On the scoreboard out in right-center field, the Hoppers name would not light up, the reason given for the name disapperance:Lightning-strike last week blew out
the Home Team moniker.

The Hoppers did not get blown out, but they did get Shut Out and that’s not a good thing. The problem was about timing. The Hoppers couldn’t seem to get their timing down against the Drive’s starting pitcher Michael Bowden. Bowden went 5 innings to get the win and then Hunter Jones and Blake Maxwell came on to pitch 2 scoreless innings each to wrap up the win for the
Drive. Luis Soto had a solo homerun and a double and drove in 2 runs in four plate appearances for the Drive, and the solo(HR) by Soto added to the Hoppers woes and left GB in a hole that they would never get out of on the 4th at FHP.

Gary Roche smacked a double for the Hoppers for the GBGH’s only extra-base hit, as the Hoppers could only muster 4 hits total off the Drive pitching on Independence Day in front of a record breaking attendance night at the Ballyard on Bellmeade and Eugene Streets.

The Hoppers starter big Sean West got roughed up early giving up those two large runs in the second but West went on to strike out 6 and walk only 1 in his 6 innings of duty. The bottom line is the Hoppers got the fans but they couldn’t get the runs on Tuesday night and therefore the Drive picked up game one of the four game series between the Red Sox and Marlins future players.

Game two is tonight(Wednesday) and the Stanley Cup which was won recently by the Carolina Hurricanes will be on display between 7-9pm on Natty Green’s hill out by the left field berm. The Cup should bring some new fans to the ballpark and we hear that Stormy the Canes mascot will accompany the Cup to the park. I don’t think Stormy has been to town since they nearly killed the Pig at the Greensboro Coliseum back during the Canes stay at the Big Barn on West Lee Street. Enjoy the Hoppers and enjoy the Cup, and we guarantee the baseball experience will be a lot more fun if the Hoppers can find a way to beat the Sox off the Greenville Drive. Mark LaMacchia(1-1) gets the start tonight for the GBGH.

The Greensboro News and Record did a Sports feature on Coach Johnny Smith and his Guilford Patriots in Tuesday’s 4th of July edition of the N&R. The paper had a lot of good things to say about JS and it was good to see the Coach and Palomino baseball get some well-deserved coverage. The Patriots defeated the Brooklyn Bonnies out of New York 7-6 Monday evening at Grimsley High School. The Patriots were missing 6 regular players because of the Holiday vacations but still found of way to knock off the kids from Brooklyn.

David Hall had a solo homerun for the Patriots and Justin Smith, Johnny’s trusty assistant coach and Son of Smith, made some key calls while coaching over at third base. Justin had one of the Patriots steal home and he was safe and the Brooklyn Bonnies didn’t know what hit them. The Bonnies were ticked off, but they were really mad at themselves for letting the Patriot runner swipe home and he did it off of the Brooklyn pitcher. Justin also called time out at a key point in the game and talked to his runner at second base, warning the runner to stay closer to the bag at 2nd and watch the Bonnie pitcher for a potential pick-off move. Sure enough, the BB pitcher came to second and tried to nail the Patriot runner right before his next pitch to the plate.

The Patriots looked real good in the N&R story with Nelson Kepley photos, but we have to send a huge shout out to the Greensboro Batting Center and to the Elks Club 602 because they won the Palomino 4th of July Tournaments. The Batting Center won the 16 year old and under phase of the Tourney, crushing Rockingham County 14-0, and then the Elks coached by Derrick Johnson of Smith High School edged the Spirits 10-8 to take the 18 and under title. Way to go Batting Center and way to go Elks winning and keeping both titles in Greesnboro. Derrick Johnson had to recruit some new Elks in order to win this Tournament but he did the job and he was working on putting together his championship squad while we were talking to him last Thursday over at War Memorial Stadium. Lester Rivenbark’s dad also put together a strong but young team that played very hard in this Tourney according to our chief scout Justin Smith.