For a young team like the Hoptown Hoppers, confidence is key.

The Hoppers' roster consists of just one junior and with the rest of them being sophomores or younger, the confidence leads to momentum.

Hoptown manager Grayson Crawford said after his team's perfect 3-0 homestand last week, he sees his team's confidence growing.

"I think we're playing with a little more confidence," Crawford said. "Some of these guys are realizing that they're baseball players and they're kind of hitting their stride again. I do think it's still early. We added a couple of guys as of (Tuesday), so still filling the roster out and still kind of learning each other and I'm still learning them as well.

"There's still some growing to do but I definitely think guys are starting to come together well."

The Hoppers have gained quite a bit of steam as of late. After dropping three games in a row, they turned around and won three straight, including a 6-4 win over the then undefeated Paducah Chiefs.

In the three games from last week, Hoptown rolled in 33 runs in the victories. It scored a season-high 19 against the Henderson Flash last Thursday.

Crawford has seen his entire batting order contribute to the scoring, from the top of the order getting on base, all the way down to the nine spot bringing it back around. He said he has been pleased with the production from his team in this young season.

"I think the top of the order has done a tremendous job of getting on base," he said. "Drew (McGowan) and Micah (Genter) and some of those guys have been on base so much. Seth (Bennett) and (Brennan) Crooms and those guys have been big with driving in those runs.

"I think also, we've taken our walks. If you look at the last couple of games, we've had innings where we've had two, three, or four walks in a row -- we weren't doing that when we were losing ... We've talked about those types of things and it was good to see us try to work on those so hopefully, we can continue to do that."

All while the bats have been pouring in the runs, the arms on the bump have provided a solid presence, continuing to put the Hoppers in a position to win the game at the plate.

Since allowing 12 runs in a loss to the Chiefs last Tuesday, the pitchers haven't allowed more than five runs in a game entering Tuesday.

Crawford said the number of arms he has in his arsenal has been big in the success on the mound to this point of the season.

"I think as a whole, we've thrown more strikes," he said. "Our bullpen has been so much better after the first couple of games. I think the biggest thing is we've just had options ... I'm definitely looking forward to letting these guys expand on their roles a little bit and get comfortable in their roles as we get into this next week and into the summer."

See Hoppers/Page B4


Moving forward, Crawford is hopeful his team can continue the upward swing it has been on and added that team chemistry has a little to do with that as well.

"I think that's something that takes time," he said. "Some of their personalities have to fit and I think we've done a good job of getting good kids here. I think we've got good guys and they're getting along with each other well.

"If we keep playing the way we have been playing the last three games, I think we'll be fine."

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