The Will call on Sunday’s Hoppers: Triple play, game tying two-run homer, Walk-off homer

from Will Cornelisu Hoppers’ media:

GALLOWAY AND HOPPERS WALK OFF IN EXTRA INNING THRILLER

GREENSBORO, NC – The Grasshoppers picked up their first win of the second half in tonight’s, downing the West Virginia Power in walk off fashion, 8-7.

The Hoppers held all the momentum early in the contest, riding another spectacular performance from the right arm of Graham Johnson. Johnson struggled inside the zone at times, but pitched past the seven walks he issued to allow just two earned runs over 5 2/3 strong innings.

Johnson kept the Power hitters guessing all day, retiring five of the first six hitters he faced while holding West Virginia hitless until the third inning.

The Hoppers offense jumped on a struggling Duke Welker early in the contest, striking for two runs in the third and three more runs in the following inning.

Justin Bass was the first Hopper to tag Welker, belting his 12th home run to right field. The homer, a towering fly ball, scored Justin Jacobs who had reached on a walk to begin the inning.

The Grasshoppers used back-to-back walks to ignite a three-run rally in the following inning, as Jacobs brought home the first run with a fielders’ choice. Bass laced his sixth double of the season in the next at-bat, plating Jacobs and Ben Lasater to give the home team a five run lead.

West Virginia fought back with one in fourth, jumping on the board after an error in the infield allowed a leadoff walk to turn into an unearned run.

Johnson dodged another Power rally in the fifth when Kevin Mattison made a diving grab to start the front end of a triple play. Mattison came up throwing to double off both runners and help Johnson work past the two walks he allowed to begin the inning. The three-out phenomena is truly a rare occurrence, as the Hoppers triple play today marks their first of the sort since joining the South Atlantic League in 1979.

The triple play wasn’t the only highlight of the contest however, as the Grasshoppers squandered 5-3 lead in the seventh when West Virginia brought home three runs to take their first lead of the ballgame.

Another run the ninth inning extended the Power’s lead to two, and set the stage for the Hopper’s heroic comeback.

With two outs in their final at-bat, Lasater stepped to the plate and delivered a dramatic game tying two-run home run. The blast, a no-doubter to deep left, tied Lasater for the team’s lead for home runs with 12, and set the table for a walk off win.

After two innings of scoreless bonus baseball, top prospect Isaac Galloway drove Yoffri Martinez’s offering deep over the right-center field wall to cap off the back-and-forth battle and help the Hoppers avoid a potential four-game skid.

The Hoppers (38-36) dropped three of four from the Power in the series, but avoided the sweep with tonight’s miraculous comeback thriller. The Hoppers visit the Lakewood BlueClaws for a four-game set before returning home on July 4th to host the Lake County Captains.

The Independence Day match up is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.

Will Cornelius
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball