Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers pull within one game of first

Hoppers pull within one game of first

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

Once so far back that they could barely see first place, the Greensboro Grasshoppers have pulled within one game of first place in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League.

The Hoppers battled their way to a 2-1 win over Kannapolis Friday while Hagerstown dropped a doubleheader to Greenville, 8-2 in the first game and 2-0 in the second.

With two games remaining in the first half, Hagerstown stands at 43-25 and Greensboro has climbed to 42-26. The Hoppers have won eight straight games, a streak that began with three straight wins over the Suns in Greensboro last week. Then they swept three games at West Virginia and have won the first two games at Kannapolis.

Saturday night, the Hoppers are at Kannapolis at 7:05 while Hagerstown is at home against Greenville at the same time. The first half wraps up Sunday, with the Hoppers’ game
starting at 2:05 and Hagerstown’s game at 5:05.

Cody Crabaugh was an unexpected starter for the Hoppers Friday and he delivered 6 1/3 innings. After being nicked for a run in the bottom of the first, he shut out the Intimidators until relieved by Esmerling de la Rosa with one out in the seventh.

De la Rosa pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Tyler Kinley pitched the ninth and gave up a two-out single, but caught Tyler Williams looking at a third strike to end the game and earn the save. The three Greensboro pitchers combined to allow just six hits while walking three and striking out seven. De la Rosa was credited with the victory.

Offensively, the Hoppers were were shut out for six innings by Kannapolis starter James Dykstra but reached him for an unearned run in the seventh. Justin Bohn singled and came all the way around to score on Avery Romero’s single that was misplayed by left fielder Carl Thomore for an error. Bohn’s run tied the game 1-1.

In the eighth, Chad Wallach singled and went to second on an error by shortstop Cleuluis Rondon. Rehiner Cordova followed with a single to load the bases and a single by Yefri Perez scored Wallach to give the Hoppers the lead.

Wallach, the catcher, made a key play in the bottom of the eighth when he threw out Rondon trying to steal second base. Rondon had opened the inning with a single.