Alen Hanson returned from his injury sustain last Friday for West Virginia on Tuesday.
Hanson was the Power’s designated hitter, going 0-for-2 with a walk in a 4-3 loss to Greensboro. Gregory Polanco was still missing from the lineup after also going down with injury last Friday. Manager Rick Sofield said he expects Polanco to be out at least another week and that he had his foot in a boot and had not been participating in baseball activities since the injury.
Nick Kingham did not make it out of the third inning of Tuesday’s loss. Kingham gave up two runs in the third and was pulled due to pitch count. Sofield said Kingham was allowed to go to the 30-pitch range in a given inning and reached that in the third. Rinku Singh replaced Kingham and had a solid outing, allowing one run on two hits with six strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work. Emmanuel De Leon came in after Singh and also looked sharp until an eighth inning balk (he dropped the ball with his foot on the rubber) allowed the winning run to score from third base for the Grasshoppers.
Willy Garcia collected his 16th home run and 71st RBI of the season on a third inning home run. Garcia is currently tied for fourth in the South Atlantic League in the home run category and sits at sixth in RBIs.
West Virginia is deeply entrenched in a pennant chase with several team in the SAL Northern Division. Tuesday’s loss moved the Power a half game behind division-leading Hagerstown (who beat third-place Hickory 4-3 on Tuesday).
Hickory tails West Virginia by a game with Lakewood and Greensboro two back of the Power. With 19 games remaining on the schedule, West Virginia has one game left to play against Greensboro, three with Kannapolis, six with Charleston (S.C.), three with Hickory and four with Delmarva. Should the Power win the division, it would play first half champion Greensboro in the SAL playoffs. Since becoming the Power in 2005, the franchise has qualified for the playoffs once (2007). The Power’s predecessors in West Virginia minor league baseball have just one SAL championship since joining the league in 1987.
The 1990 Charleston Wheelers (a Cincinnati club at the time) won the SAL with a team that featured Trevor Hoffman as a shortstop and 14-year major league veteran Dan Wilson at catcher.