It all comes down to this:Hoppers aim for title at home(Bill Hass on Baseball)

from Bill Hass on Baseball at and the Greensboro Grasshoppers are in line to take the Title….

Hoppers aim for title at home

It comes down to this: the Hoppers can clinch a berth in the SAL playoffs in the final home stand of the first half of the season.

Wednesday night, Greensboro thumped Kannapolis 13-2 and got an assist from Hickory, which beat Hagerstown 5-3 in 10 innings. With four games to play, the Hoppers are 43-23 and Hagerstown is 40-25, a lead of 2 1/2 games. Any combination of Greensboro wins and Hagerstown losses totaling two results in the Hoppers winning the first half championship of the Northern Division.

You can’t approach the final series expecting help by Hagerstown losing. The safest way in is for the Hoppers to win two games out of the four against the Charleston RiverDogs. And there’s nothing automatic about that. Charleston is 38-25 and in second place in the Southern Division, although Asheville has already clinched the first-half pennant.

The Austin Brice/Jose Urena tandem will pitch tonight and it’s Brice’s turn to start with Urena in relief. Game time is 7 o’clock in NewBridge Bank Park. Adam Conley is scheduled to pitch Friday, Jose Fernandez Saturday and Josh Hodges Sunday.

Greg Nappo got the start Wednesday in place of Charlie Lowell, who is on the disabled list. He delivered four good innings, allowing one run and striking out seven in his first start of the season. Nappo didn’t qualify for the win but his strong performance got things started the right way. The win went to Jose Rodriguez, appearing in his first game as a Hopper while replacing Lowell on the roster. He pitched 1 2/3 innings and James Nygren threw the final 3 1/3 to earn the save.

The Hoppers’ batters banged out 18 hits and everyone in the lineup had a hit and scored a run. Greensboro led 4-2 after six innings and added nine runs in the final three frame. Josh Adams had three hits, three RBIs and scored twice; Brent Keys had three hits and two runs scored; Ryan McIntyre had two hits and three RBIs; and James Wooster had a pair of doubles, two RBIs and two runs.