Bill Hass on Baseball:Lakewood snaps Hoppers streak at 5

Lakewood snaps Hoppers streak at 5
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at

Streaks are made to be stopped and that’s what happened to the Hoppers Tuesday at NewBridge Bank Park.

Lakewood hit four solo home runs, two by Rhys Hoskins, and added four other runs to post an 8-5 win, snapping Greensboro’s five-game winning streak.

Three of the homers came off starter Jose Adames and another off reliever Jose Arias.

“The pitchers were falling behind,” said manager Kevin Randel. “If you don’t get strike one, you’re in trouble no matter what level you’re playing at.”

The Hoppers might have survived the homers but the other runs were costly. One scored on a double steal of second base and home, another came in on a hit batter by Kyle Fischer with the bases loaded and still another on a passed ball by catcher Rodrigo Vigil.

What disappointed Randel was the pitchers’ inability to shut down the BlueClaws after the Hoppers scored. After Greensboro scored a run in bottom of the third, Lakewood answered in the top of the fourth. The Hoppers scored four times in the fifth inning to gain a 5-4 lead but the BlueClaws tied it in the top of the sixth.

Even when Lakewood took the lead and extended it to 8-5, the Hoppers still gave themselves a chance to win, putting two runners on base with two outs in the ninth. The BlueClaws elected not to take a chance with Arturo Rodriguez, who had already clubbed a three-run homer, and walked him on four pitches to load the bases.

Austen Smith, who leads the club with four homers, came up and quickly fell behind 0-and-2 to reliever Matt Hockenberry. Smith worked the count to 3-and-2 but then swung and missed to end the game.

“We had a shot at the end,” Randel said. “I felt like we had it, I really did. At 3-and-2 I knew he would get a fastball and he just tried to do a little too much with it.”

The Hoppers wrap up the Lakewood series with a 10:45 a.m. game Wednesday, the first of School Kids days. Tyler Kolek will start for Greensboro.

“We’ll see who wants to play,” Randel said of the early start.

NOTES: Vigil had two doubles and a single for the Hoppers and scored twice … Rony Cabrera added an RBI double … Rodriguez hit his first homer of the season. He played two full seasons in the Mexican League, hitting 15 home runs with 71 RBIs with Tijuana last year … Hoskins went 4-for-4 with two homers, three runs and two RBIs for Lakewood … Derek Campbell went 3-for-4 with another homer.