Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers will carry on despite elimination

Hoppers will carry on despite elimination
from Bill Hass, with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at

Wednesday will bring another day and another baseball game for the Hoppers.

That’s the approach manager Miguel Perez expects his team to take, even though Greensboro was officially eliminated from the Northern Division race in the first half of the season with a 2–1 loss to Hickory Tuesday night.

“Every day matters in player development,” he said. “You win the day. And what I mean by that is that you work on something, like bunting, that will make you better and get you ready for the next level.

“Nothing will change. You come to the park, work to get better and prepare to win a game. Every day counts, and there are still 70-some games left to play in the season.”

The Hoppers are 41–24 on the season and trail Delmarva (46–18) by 5 1/2 games with five games left in the first half. Hickory has a 39–23 record and the SAL standings show the Crawdads somehow haven’t been eliminated, although they trail Delmarva by six games with only five remaining.

“Who knows about this game?” Perez said about the vagaries of baseball. “You have three teams in the same division with three of the best records in all of minor league baseball.”

The Hoppers never got much offense going, stymied without a hit through five innings by Hickory pitcher Tyree Thompson. Hoppers starter Colin Selby was nicked for two runs in the third inning and that proved to be the difference.

In the sixth inning, the Hoppers finally broke the ice when Ji-Hwan Bae beat out a grounder to short for an infield hit. He then stole second base. Fabricio Macias singled sharply to right field and Perez held up Bae at third base. There should have been runners at the corners with no one out.

But Macias inexplicably churned around first base toward second. Hickory’s right fielder threw the ball to the first baseman, who fired to the shortstop as Macias ran toward second. Bae broke for home and was thrown out at the plate.

“That’s part of a learning situation,” Perez said. “We had a great conversation about that. I’m not upset or disappointed at what happened. It can happen again, so we can learn from it.”

Connor Kaiser eventually drove in Macias with a single to cut the lead to 2–1, but that was it for Greensboro’s scoring.

NOTES: The Crawdads beat the Hoppers for the seventh time in nine meetings this season, with Wednesday’s game remaining … Relievers Yerry De Los Santos and John O’Reilly were sharp for Greensboro, throwing two innings each and combining for five strikeouts … Although Thompson walked four batters, including Rodolfo Castro three times, the Hoppers couldn’t bunch any hits around the walks … Castro, playing third base for one of the few times this season, made back-to-back errors on grounders in the second inning, then ended the inning with a fine catch of a foul popup against the railing of the Hoppers’ dugout.