Bill Hass on Baseball:German stellar again as Hoppers win

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

German stellar again as Hoppers win

Domingo German may have been wearing a camouflage jersey but he wasn’t about to blend in with the surroundings Saturday night.

The Hoppers’ right-hander delivered another stellar effort and picked up his fifth victory of the season as Greensboro topped West Virginia 5-3. In his last two starts, German has pitched 15 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) with 10 strikeouts and just one walk.

“He really did a nice job and was efficient early in the game,” said pitching coach Jeremy Powell. “He had three innings of less than 10 pitches. He’s been able to keep his body and delivery under control.”

German said he felt good and had a good breaking ball.

“I was trying to put hitters in good counts for me, 0-and-1 and 0-and 2,” he said, with coach Jose Ceballos translating. “That makes it easier to pitch.”

Manager David Berg, before being ejected in the fourth inning, saw enough of German’s night to be impressed.

“He’s been awesome,” Berg said. “He’s been a surprise, not because of the stuff he has, but because of the composure he’s shown. He’s been one of our most consistent starters.”

Some timely hitting and stout relief pitching supported German’s effort. Kentrell Dewitt hit a two-run homer, Felix Munoz added a solo shot and Justin Bohn and Juan Avila contributed RBIs as the Hoppers built a 5-0 lead through seven innings.

German retired the first 13 Power batters before allowing a double to Erich Weiss that fell just out of reach of diving shortstop J.T. Riddle in short left field. He retired the next two hitters without incident.

In the sixth inning, German faced some trouble after Candon Myles laced a one-out triple. But German regrouped to get a strikeout and groundout to strand the runner.

He overcame more adversity in the seventh when a walk loaded the bases with two outs. Once again he got a strikeout when he needed it to leave three more runners.

The Power finally broke through in the eighth inning. Edwin Espinal drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single with a third scoring on an error in left field by Carlos Lopez. Josh Easley came out of the bullpen and hit the first batter he faced, then got a flyout and strikeout to stifle the rally.

“He didn’t get tired, he just got too excited and got in a hurry,” Powell said of German. “You’ve got to go through those experiences.”

Sean Donatello closed things out in the ninth for his seventh save, getting all three hitters on called third strikes. He and Easley also combined to help nail down Thursday’s 3-1 win.

“Those two have done a nice job,” Powell said. “We’ve got some other guys who haven’t worked as much lately, but we’re trying to get hot and win some games.”

Because Hagerstown lost a doubleheader Saturday, the Hoppers closed within five games in the Northern Division with 16 remaining in the first half. Red-hot Delmarva is within 3 1/2 games.

NOTES: The special jerseys were for Military Appreciation Night at NewBridge Bank Park … Hitting coach Frank Moore took the reins and the third base coaching box after Berg left … Carlos Lopez had his 12-game hitting streak stopped, going 0-for-4 … The club’s hottest hitter right now is Cody Keefer, who has a seven-game streak during which he’s 13-for-26 and has five multi-hit games … Dewitt’s homer, an opposite field drive that cleared the fence in the left fielder corner, was his fourth … Munoz cracked his seventh, a deep shot to right-center field … Jarlin Garcia will get the start for Greensboro when the teams wrap up their four-game series Sunday at 4 p.m.