Kannapolis hands Hoppers 10-2 drubbing
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at www.gsohoppers.com
If it had been a football or basketball game, the videotape would have been burned.
That’s the kind of day it was for the Hoppers Sunday afternoon when they took a 10-2 pounding at the hands of Kannapolis at NewBridge Bank Park.
Taken as a whole, the seven-game homestand was successful, with the Hoppers going 5-2. It’s just that it ended badly, with a one-hit shutout loss Saturday and a drubbing Sunday.
The team will have a day off Monday, then hit the road for three games in Greenville and four at Kannapolis.
Greensboro still leads the SAL North Division with a 13-5 record in the second half, two games ahead of the Intimidators. That will put an interesting spin on the series at Kannapolis, with the Intimdators likely having gained a lot of confidence from the past two games.
“The day off will be good after one of those,” manager Kevin Randel said, referring to Sunday. “We’re limping into it.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was the performance of the Hoppers’ top pitcher, Chuck Weaver, who had won seven straight starts and pitched six innings in six straight games. This time he didn’t make it out of the fourth, uncharacteristically giving up eight runs (seven earned) on 12 hits. The loss dropped his record to 9-5.
“He doesn’t have many games like that,” said pitching coach Brendan Sagara. “He left the ball up in the zone and paid for it. Today we made mistakes and they hit them.”
Weaver gave up two runs in the second and another in the third — that one off a titanic home run from ex-Hopper K.J. Woods, whose blast cleared the scoreboard and was given a computer estimate of 438 feet. That topped the scoreboard-clearing homer by Greensboro’s John Silviano on Saturday, estimated at 417 feet.
In the fourth inning, after giving up a leadoff single, Weaver struck out the next two batters and seemed poised to get out of it. Then the roof fell in. He surrendered two singles, a walk and then a bases-clearing double by Seby Zuvala that took the score from 4-0 to 7-0 and essentially settled the issue.
The Hoppers’ offense never really got going, scoring cosmetic single runs in the fourth and ninth innings. The biggest threat came in the bottom of the second, when they loaded the bases on a walk, a single and a fielder’s choice with one out but left everyone stranded.
“We had a chance to answer back there,” Randel said. “We did some things that were real sloppy and we need to address those issues and keep moving forward.”
A misplayed ball in the outfield that gave a runner an extra base, failure to properly back up another play and missing a cutoff throw — those were the kinds of things that bothered Randel and need to be cleaned up.
NOTES: Justin Twine got one RBI on a groundout and Anfernee Seymour singled in the other … Angel Reyes, Roy Morales and Aaron Blanton each had two hits … Kannapolis had 16 hits, three each by Johan Cruz and Thomasville native Landon Lassiter … Every Intimidator got a hit and eight of the nine score a run … L.J. Brewster will pitch the first game for the Hoppers in Greenville, followed by Steven Farnworth and Justin Jacome.