Bill on Baseball:Hoppers rally from 9 down to win

Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) from www.gsohoppers.comom…..

Hoppers rally from 9 down to win

If ever a team looked ready to pack it in, it was the Hoppers Monday night.

Coming off a one-run loss at Hickory in a game they could have won, they fell in a 9-0 hole to Asheville in NewBridge Bank Park. The percentages for bouncing back from a deficit like that are extremely low.

But the Hoppers didn’t care about percentages. Instead, they rallied for an improbable 11-10 win, one that sent everyone off the field in an almost euphoric mood.

“We stuck together and kept a good attitude,” said third baseman Yordy Cabrera. “We took it inning by inning, and at the end of the day we got a win.”

Cabrera struck the biggest blow of the game for Greensboro, a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the lead. It came off side-arming left-hander Brock Hart.

“I was looking for something to hit hard,” Cabrera said. “You just try and stay focused against a delivery like that, just like any other pitcher. I got a slider, middle in, and I got lucky.”

Manager Jorge Hernandez talked about it being “a great team win.” And no one player carried the team back. It took a combination of good at-bats, scoring in different ways and some standout pitching in the last two innings.

Eight of the nine hitters scored a run, with Cabrera, Yeison Hernandez and Anthony Gomez scoring twice each. Hernandez had two hits and drove in a run, Cameron Flynn had two hits, Cody Keefer picked up an RBI and Viosergy Rosa ripped an RBI single that nearly tore the glove off Asheville first basman Derek Jones.

Then there was Jesus Solorzano. The center fielder hit a two-run homer to cap a five-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning that energized the team and gave it the feeling it had a chance. In the eighth, he made an outstanding diving catch of a screaming line drive hit by Asheville’s Rosell Herrera that was headed in the gap for extra bases.

“I recognized the line drive and I knew I couldn’t catch it standing up,” Solorzano said, with Cabrera translating. “So I did the only thing I could do and went diving for it.”

Asheville contributed to its own demise with four errors that led to five unearned runs. That helped offset the three Hoppers errors that led to three unearned runs.

“The errors gave us some extra outs and we took advantage of them,” Hernandez said. “When you run the bases hard, it puts pressure on the infield.”

From a pitching standpoint, starter Mason Hope and reliever Chipper Smith were tagged for all of Asheville’s run, including three homers. But once the Hoppers got the lead, that changed. Dane Stone retired the side in order in the eighth, helped by Solorzano’s catch. And Frankie Reed slammed the door in the ninth with a strikeout and two groundouts for his ninth save.

“It was great to see them nail it down after we scored those runs,” said pitching coach Blake McGinley. “They got ahead of the hitters and made some quality pitches.”

The win pushed the Hoppers to 2-3 in the second half of the season.

“We needed this,” Hernandez said. “We bounced back from a tough loss and we need this to carry on the whole week.”

Cabrera said it was the kind of game where “everyone picked each other up, so we’ll see where it takes us.”

He said it wasn’t the biggest comeback he has ever been involved in. Playing with Stockton in the California League last year, his team rallied from 12 runs down against Modesto and eventually won in 18 innings.

The teams play again at 7 p.m. today. Scott Lyman will start for the Hoppers.

ROSTER MOVES: During the All-Star break, center fielder Michael Main was sent to Double-A Jacksonville and infielder Alfredo Lopez to High A Jupiter. Pitcher Brian Ellington (shin) was placed on the disabled list. Added to the roster was infielder Blake Barber. The Hoppers played Monday with just 23 players but the open spots will be filled by pitcher Chad James, who will start Wednesday, and probably by outfielder Juancito Martinez.