The faces have changed, but so far the winning hasn't.
Saturday night's 6-1 victory over Hickory came with a new starting pitcher and a new catcher. Jose Adames picked up the win in his Greensboro debut and Brad Haynal got a hit and threw out a runner trying to steal.
"Adames was a little scattered but he stayed composed," said manager David Berg. "Haynal went 1-for-4 and caught well and I'll take that every day."
For the second straight night, the Hoppers got a lead on a three-run homer in the first inning. Felix Munoz delivered the blow Saturday, driving in J.T. Riddle and Carlos Lopez. It was the 13th homer for Munoz and pushed his RBI total to 68.
Riddle had three hits, including his seventh homer, and scored twice. He also had a sacrifice bunt in the seventh inning to move runners to second and third. The Crawdads chose not to walk Austin Dean to load the bases and he made them pay with a two-run single. Dean had two hits, giving him eight over the last three games.
"I'm slowing everything down and seeing every pitch," he said. "Any chance you have with a runner on third, you want to drive him in."
Despite the wholesale roster changes - six players from the first half Northern Division champions have been promoted to Jupiter - the Hoppers are 20-10 in the second half and in first place.
"If anything, the chemistry is better," Dean said. "We accept the new guys, take them in and teach them our way of playing baseball. They have handled every clutch situation. I'm so glad to be here helping this team."
Adames gave the Hoppers 5 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and a walk but minimizing the damage. He struck out five.
"He did a great job for his first outing," said pitching coach Jeremy Powell. "His fastball had some life and his curve and changeup were in play."
Esmerling de la Rosa relieved Adames with two outs in the sixth and fanned a hitter on a 94 miles per hour fastball to end the inning. He struck out four in 2 1/3 innings. The last batter he faced, Joe Jackson, had numerous foul balls in a 10-pitch battle that de la Rosa finally won, fittingly, with a come-backer to the mound.
"It was nice to see him win that battle," Powell said. "He hadn't pitched in five days and it's tough to be sharp. (Jackson) was putting some good swings on the ball."
Tyler Kinley, who also hadn't pitched in five days, added two more strikeouts in the ninth inning.
Another pitcher will debut in Sunday's 4 p.m. game. Dustin Moseley, who has major league experience, was signed as a free agent by the Marlins. He's trying to revive his career after shoulder surgery in 2012.
At age 32, Moseley is almost certainly the oldest player to wear a Hoppers uniform. A first-round pick by Cincinnati in 2000, he has pitched in 101 major-league games, starting 53 of them, from 2006-2012. His record is 15-21 with a 4.67 ERA. He won a playoff game in relief for the Yankees against Texas in the ALCS in 2010. He also started 174 games in the minor leagues with a 61-60 record and 4.35 ERA.
"He said he's happy to give it another shot and try again," Berg said.
NOTES: Sean Townsley, the scheduled starter Sunday, was placed on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis and will also miss his next start … Domingo German, who hasn't started since he pitched in the Futures Game on July 13, is scheduled to return on July 25 and will be eased back into the rotation.