Bill Hass on Baseball:Big inning keeps Hoppers tied for the top

Big inning keeps Hoppers tied for the top

KANNAPOLIS?—?The Hoppers continued their winning ways and kept their share of first place by beating Kannapolis 9–3 Wednesday night.

Greensboro remains tied with Hickory, which beat Delmarva 9–8, in the Northern Division of the SAL. The Hoppers (33–24) have the edge with a winning percentage of .579 to that of .576 for the Crawdads (34–25).

West Virginia, which split a doubleheader, is three games behind. Hagerstown was hammered by Lakewood 14–4 and has slipped to four games back. Eleven games remain in the regular season.

Michael King recorded his elusive 10th win of the season, pitching six innings and giving up three runs (two earned) with five strikeouts. Carlos Diaz pitched a scoreless seventh and Kyle Keller closed things out with zeroes in the eighth and ninth.

The Hoppers struck early, scoring a run in the first on Trenton Hill’s single. Then came a seven-run second inning, five of which came with two outs. A highlight came in the running game. J.C. Millan led off the second with a double and moved to third on a bunt single by Jhonny Santos. With Luis Pintor at the plate, Millan stole home while Santos stole second.

Santos scored on an error and then, after the second out of the inning, Walker Olis and Eric Gutierrez had back-to-back RBI doubles. After Trenton Hill walked, Jarett Rindfleisch cracked his sixth homer of the year, a three-run shot that made it 8–0.

Gutierrez added another RBI double in the third inning to wrap up the Hoppers’ scoring.

The Hoppers have won 10 of their last 12 games and play again at Kannapolis Thursday night. Dustin Beggs is the scheduled starter.

NOTES: Reliever Reilly Hovis was placed on the DL with a left oblique strain … Filling his roster spot is right-hander R.J. Peace … Peace, 20, was drafted in the 13th round out of high school in 2015 … This year he appeared in 14 games at Batavia, going 0–1 with a 2.84 ERA and two saves.