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Hammerheads, Grasshoppers both fall short
- Updated: September 18, 2012
The Greensboro Grasshoppers and Jupiter Hammerheads had great seasons, as both made it to their league’s championship round. The Grasshoppers were playing for the South Atlantic League title, while the Hammerheads were battling for the Florida State League crown, in best-of-five series. Jupiter lost game 5, losing the series 3-2. Greensboro lost the series 3-1 after taking the first game. The Asheville Tourists and Lakeland Flying Tigers seasons ended with joy, while both Marlins affiliates were sent home disappointed. However, you can’t say that it wasn’t a great year for the teams.
In Jupiter’s game 5, Robert Morey was brilliant, tossing 7 shutout innings. He gave up just 1 hit and 1 walk. But he was matched by Lakeland’s Warwick Saupold who threw 7 shutout innings of his own. In the 8th, Rett Varner, the same Rett Varner who threw 3 shutout innings in relief in the 15 inning loss put 2 runners on base, and was replaced by usually automatic closer Michael Brady.
The Tigers put on a double-steal, and catcher JT Realmuto, who is rated as the top defensive catcher in the FSL sent a wild throw down the third base line allowing a run to score. Brady them gave up an RBI single to Tyler Collins to make it 2-0. In the top of the 9th, Jupiter’s Noah Perio doubled, giving Realmuto a chance to redeem himself as the tying run. Coming off a 3 RBI game, JT grounded out, giving the Flying Tigers the win, and the championship. Each of the 5 games were decided by 2 or less runs.
Greensboro took the first game against the Tourists, but that would be all they would get, as Asheville took the next 3 games pretty easity, by scores of 10-3, 9-0, and a 10-4 clincher in the game 4. Wilfredo Giminez grounded out to end the game in the bottom of the 9th, and Asheville proceeded to celebrate on the Grasshopper’s own home field. The players gave high fives and signed autographs for fans. Sure there was reason to be disappointed, but this one series couldn’t ruin the fact that the Grasshoppers had another great season.
Overall, while neither team came out on top it was still an amazing year for both squads. Making the championship is always impressive. During the season, the Hoppers had some great accomplishments.
“We ran into a great team,” said manager David Berg. “They can swing the bats up and down the lineup and they can pitch. I thanked the guys for their effort this season. We won 80 games in the season, 83 overall, we had a combined no-hitter, we hit two grand slams in one game, we put a lot of guys on the all-star team. It was a great year for everybody, it really was.” Austin Barnes, Andrew Heaney, and Matt Smith proved to be talented young players.
The same could be said in Jupiter, as Christian Yelich finished with a .330 batting average, Marcell Ozuna led the league in both homers and RBIs, and young pitching prospects Adam Conley and Jose Fernandez had amazing years. Fernandez has propelled himself into elite prospect status, as he went a combined 14-1 this year with a sub-2.00 ERA. Jupiter had plenty of All-Stars and magical moments as well.
It wouldn’t be fair at all to discount the seasons that these 2 young teams had just because they couldn’t seal the deal in the end. The years they had are something to be proud of, and as a Marlins fan I couldn’t be happier with the direction that our young players are going in. Our organization looks to have a very bright future.
Anthony Codella is a writer for Marlins Nation. Follow them on twitter @ACodella130 and @Marlins_Nation