Intimidators hit 5 homers, drub Hoppers
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball at www.gsohoppers.com
No matter how well a team is playing, a clunker of a game comes along now and then.
The Hoppers had one of those Friday night. Kannapolis launched five home runs en route to an 11–4 drubbing of Greensboro. The Hoppers were never in it after the Intimidators scored six runs in the fourth inning.
“I told them to take a shower, wash it off and be ready to play tomorrow,” manager Todd Pratt said he told his players.
The loss left the Hoppers with a 26–21 record in the tight race in the Northern Division of the SAL. Hagerstown leads with a 28–19 mark, Lakewood is one-half game back at 28–19, the Hoppers trail by two games and Kannapolis is 2 1/2 behind at 25–21. Greensboro has 22 games remaining in the first half of the schedule.
Kannapolis teed off on Michael King, one of the steadiest starters on the Hoppers staff. He was tagged for three runs, including two homers, in the first inning and gave up the six-spot in the fourth, allowing two more homers.
“He couldn’t control either side of the plate and he had no breaking ball,” Pratt said. “Everything was right down the middle and they’re a good fastball hitting team. He just had no command. We’ll look at some video with him and we’ll see him again in five days (for his next start).”
King returned to the mound for the fifth inning and got two strikeouts and a popup. Altogether, he was charged with nine runs in five innings.
“I challenged him to go back out (in the fifth) and pitch like we knew he could,” said pitching coach Mark DiFelice. “I told him this would sting for a couple of days, but to have a short-term memory and use it as a learning experience about pitching inside to get hitters off the plate and making them uncomfortable.”
In the two games of the series, Kannapolis had hit nine homers, amassed 30 hits and scored 19 runs. Joel Booker and Seby Zavala, who homered Thursday, connected again Friday. Jameson Fisher and Brandon Dulin hit the other homers Friday.
In the two games, Booker is 7-for-10 with two homers, four RBIs and five runs scored. Fisher is 6-for-10 with a homer, three RBIs and three runs.
From a 9–1 deficit, the Hoppers were able to cut three runs off the lead and that was it. Three Kannapolis relievers held them hitless for the last 3 1/3 innings.
The teams play the third game of the series Saturday at 7 p.m. with Jordan Holloway starting for Greensboro.
NOTES: Boo Vazquez hit his third homer of the year, a two-run shot in the fifth inning … Aaron Knapp had two hits … James Nelson’s first-inning single extended his hitting streak to 12 games … Colby Lusignan had an RBI double in the fifth to broke an 0-for-34 slump that had stretched over eight games.