Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers rebound with 3-1 victory

“I worked hard on my swing, my defense, everything” Rehiner Cordova said, with coach Jose Ceballos translating. “My manager told me that every time I played I should be thinking about being back in Greensboro.”

from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at

Hoppers rebound with 3-1 victory

Even when he was back in Florida, Rehiner Cordova kept thinking about Greensboro.

The versatile infielder, who can also play in the outfield, saw some playing time early in the season when some infielders were injured. But when they healed and were activated, Corbova was sent back to extended spring training in Jupiter.

“I worked hard on my swing, my defense, everything” Cordova said, with coach Jose Ceballos translating. “My manager told me that every time I played I should be thinking about being back in Greensboro.”

When outfielder Austin Dean went on the disabled list with an injured finger, Cordova was called up. And Thursday night he delivered a key hit as the Hoppers beat West Virginia 3-1, bouncing back nicely from a Wednesday loss to Lakewood that snapped a six-game winning streak.

“Every time he plays he seems to come up with a big hit,” said manager David Berg. “He keeps competing no matter what. Anyone who goes to extended spring is happy to be back.”

Berg liked the way his team played with enthusiasm. That was evident in the seventh inning with the score tied 1-1 with two outs and nobody on base. Cody Keefer ripped a drive that went to the base of the wall in deep right center and hustled it into a stand-up triple. Cordova, who had grounded into double plays in his first two at-bats, hit a solid single to right field for the go-ahead RBI. He then scored on a double by Javier Lopez for an insurance run.

“It was a tight game and a good situation for me,” Cordova said. “I was looking for a fastball and got one middle away. It feels good to help the team win.”

Cordova came into the game with four RBIs and Lopez only seven. Hitting coach Frank Moore said that kind of production is vital to team success.

“You never can tell what spot you’ll need a hit from,” Moore said. “To create a winning team, you need all nine guys with everyone contributing.”

Sean Donatello picked up his sixth save by retiring the side in order in the ninth. He struck out one hitter and got the next two on come-backers, fielding the second one well off the mound and firing his best fastball to first base to nip the runner.

“The good thing about that was he didn’t panic,” said pitching coach Jeremy Powell. “He knew the speed of the runner and how much time he had to make the play.”

Josh Easley picked up the win by pitching a strong one-two-three seventh inning. Starter Max Garner pitched a gritty six innings, allowing seven hits and extracting himself from several jams. He stranded two Power runners in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth (helped by a double play), one in the fifth and two in the sixth (aided by a diving catch in center field by Kentrell Dewitt).

Esmerling de la Rosa continued that theme in the eighth, loading the bases on a single, double and walk. But he fanned Chris Diaz to end the threat.

“That’s when you can see who they are and what they can do,” Powell said. “They all have to go through that experience and when they’re successful, it’s a plus.”

NOTES: Felix Munoz had the first Hoppers RBI, a single in the fourth inning to score Justin Bohn to tie the game … Carlos Lopez extended his hitting streak to 11 games, laying down a beautiful bunt for a hit when he saw the Power third baseman playing almost on the outfield grass … Lopez is 26-for-43 during the streak … West Virginia starter Dovydas Neverauskas, a native of Lithuania, allowed one run on five hits in six innings … The teams play again Friday at 7 p.m. with Ryan Newell starting for the Hoppers.