In a majority of the Hoppers’ games this season, they have been on the back foot, needing to rally.
In eight of Hoptown’s nine games prior to Tuesday night’s contest, it has either allowed the first run or trailed by multiple runs in the game.
Most recently, the Hoppers made a massive comeback, eliminating a 10-1 lead from the Paducah Chiefs to walk off and win 12-11.
Having been through it as much as he has already in his short tenure as head coach, Hoppers’ skipper Brett Lindsey said in these games, you can see how close his team already is and how the team’s morale never wavers when their backs are against the wall.
“This is a close-knit group — they get along really well,” he said. “There’s just more of a momentum swing if anything and you can really feel that. In any sport you can feel the momentum swing when big things are happening. The other night (against Paducah), we took advantage of it and capitalized on quite a few runs.”
While the Hoppers have won five of those eight games, having to come from behind and rally to win games isn’t the most successful model to have.
For Lindsey, it’s actually helping him and his staff evaluate the team.
“It puts our players in a unique perspective for our coaching staff to evaluate that you can’t simulate in practice or just put a lineup together and hope this guy comes up in a big situation and gets a hit when we need it,” Lindsey said. “With us trailing quite a bit at the start of the season, everybody has had an opportunity to come up clutch. … It allows us to see in the future who we can rely on and who we might need to pass on.”
The Hoppers’ ability to make comebacks makes for a great show in front of the home crowd but isn’t quite as good for the health of the Hopper faithful.
But for Lindsey, he thinks it’s better to be tested now early on in the season and not get your test in the big moments later in the year.
“It shows the talent we have here,” Lindsey said. “You don’t want to go through a whole season and have it be a cakewalk. You don’t always want to be winning — you want to be tested. We’ve been tested early and it’s going to show off later. If things aren’t going our way, we’ve already been there and done that and we know how to handle that.”
Lindsey is hopeful the future will hold more early leads instead of early deficits and will have to depend on his starting rotation to put the rest of the team in a good position to be successful later in the game.
But despite the struggles on the mound early, the Hoppers’ bats have shown up time and time again.
“As of right now we just need better starts from some of our starters,” Lindsey said. “That’s a big reason we’re falling behind early. But this is a good hitting group and once they get it figured out and we put everybody in a successful situation, we’re going to score quite a few runs.”