Bill Hass on Baseball:Intimidators hold Hoppers at bay 6-0

Intimidators hold Hoppers at bay 6-0
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at….

In the course of a long season, even good teams will have games where they are out-pitched, out-hit and out-played.

Saturday night was one of those for the Hoppers.

A trio of Kannapolis pitchers — Andre Wheeler, Andrew Mitchell and Matt Abramson — held the Hoppers at bay all evening, allowing just four hits and paving the way for a 6-0 win by the Intimidators. It was Greensboro’s second straight loss after winning five straight. The Hoppers are 34-22 in the second half of the SAL season and 78-48 overall.

With a crowd of 8.923 on hand, Hoppers manager David Berg was the loneliest man in NewBridge Bank Park. Only one Hoppers baserunner advanced to third base, where Berg was coaching. That was Austin Dean, who singled in the fourth with one out, moved to second on a groundout by Carlos Lopez and took third on a wild pitch. Brian Anderson grounded out to end the only threat of the night.

The game was scoreless for four innings as the Hoppers’ Cody Crabaugh and the Intimidators’ Wheeler hooked up in a pitchers’ duel. Kannapolis punched across a run in the fifth on an RBI double by Toby Thomas, then added two more in the sixth.

Crabaugh actually gave the Hoppers what they needed by pitching into the sixth inning. But with one out he seemed to tire, giving up a single, an RBI triple and a walk to consecutive hitters. He got a second out and then was lifted, having thrown 95 pitches. Reliever Jose Arias got Jeremy Dowdy, a Raleigh native who played at Appalachian, to hit a grounder to third but an error by Anderson let in an unearned run to make it 3-0.

That held until the top of the ninth. Miguel del Pozo loaded the bases with no outs, then struck out the next two hitters. He went to a 3-and-2 count on Danny Hayes, who then laced a bases-clearing double into the left field corner to put the game out of reach.

The Hoppers close this home stand with a 4 p.m. game Sunday. Domingo German will start but will be limited to two or three innings. Chris Sadberry will follow him in a “piggyback” situation.

NOTES: If you wondered why the sound system played the Olympics theme for Kannapolis DH Eddy Alvarez, it’s because he won a silver medal in speedskating at the Winter Games in Sochi in February. Listed as Eduardo Alvarez, he was the third of four skaters for the U.S. team that finished second in the men’s short track 5,000 meter relay. He signed a baseball contract as a free agent with the White Sox in June. After starting in the Arizona Rookie League, he was promoted to Kannapolis on Aug. 11 and has gone 9-for-19. Alvarez, 24, last played baseball in 2011 as a shortstop for Salt Lake Community College … The 15-game hitting streak for Felix Munoz was stopped when he went 0-for-3.