Nighthawks End One Streak, Extend Another

  • Nighthawk Anthony Godino winced when the ball hit him. 6-18-17 Medora Hebert

  • Tanner Schimmoeller hurls one over the plate. 6-18-17 Medora Hebert

  • Cade Sorrells makes the out at first base. 6-18-17 Medora Hebert

  • Luke Reynolds stays safe at first base. 6-18-17 Medora Hebert

Valley News Staff Writer
Sunday, June 18, 2017

White River Junction — It took the University of Southern Mississippi’s Matt Guidry and Luke Reynolds two days and 24 hours on the road to get to the Maxfield Sports Complex in time to join the Upper Valley Nighthawks before Sunday’s game against the New Bedford Bay Sox.

Their timing couldn’t have been better as Guidry and Reynolds made their Upper Valley debuts and gave the first-place Nighthawks just the offensive boost they’ve been missing in a game that ended one Upper Valley streak and preserved another.

Guidry, coming off a strong freshman season with the Golden Eagles, had a particularly impressive debut in front of the announced home crowd of 285, sending a game-tying, three-RBI double into center field with no outs in the bottom of the fourth inning and later scoring the go-ahead run to spark a comeback from a 4-0 deficit for a 10-7 win.

“It felt good to touch the ball,” Guidry said. “We’ve been done for about two weeks since being knocked out of regionals (in the NCAA tournament). A single, anything, would have been awesome.

“The team was on a (seven-) game winning streak before this,” he added. “We just didn’t want to mess up what the guys had going.”

The victory was Upper Valley’s eighth straight to give it the best record, at 8-2, in the NECBL. It was also Upper Valley’s best offensive showing — 10 runs and 12 hits — thus far for a team that has won many of its games via strong pitching and defensive performances.

The Nighthawks entered the game on a 36-inning shutout streak that had prevented 127 consecutive batters from scoring. That ended in the first inning on Sunday as Cincinnati’s Tanner Schimmoeller struggled in his first start of the summer. Mike Coss, normally next up in the rotation, was sidelined with an injured middle finger on his throwing hand.

“We knew it was going to happen at some point,” said Nighthawks outfielder Adam Chase, from Franklin Pierce. “Having a 36-inning scoreless streak is something you don’t see every day. (After the shutout streak was snapped), we were like, ‘All right, we’ve just got to leave the bullpen to it, get back in there and battle.’ ”

Added Upper Valley head coach Jason Szafarski on going with Schimmoeller, who hadn’t started a game with the Bearcats since 2015: “The last game of this long six games in a row, we just had to go with the guy that was freshest.”

Schimmoeller lasted only two innings and left the game with the Nighthawks down, 4-0. He gave up two hits, four earned runs and four walks to 12 batters faced. The Nighthawks also committed two errors in the first.

Plymouth State’s David Sampson entered the game in the third inning and stopped the bleeding with two strikeouts in three scoreless innings.

“A big part of it was Sampson coming in and getting three zeros; that gave us a chance to come back,” Szafarski said. “It was only a matter of time. We’ve swung well during BP; we’ve been swinging well. I was just kind of waiting for an offensive explosion.”

Guidry gave the Nighthawks the lead in the fourth after his three-run double, scoring from third base on a wild pitch. He was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs in his Upper Valley debut.

“I think the best way is to just to get their feet wet,” Szafarski said of inserting the Southern Mississippi pair so quickly. “It gets them acclimated to the guys and the group. It was good to see them coming out, swinging the bats. Guidry had a big day for us offensively.”

The Nighthawks added four runs in the sixth inning. Chase joined the offensive explosion with a two-run homer into left field, his first of the season. Chase — batting .188 this summer — said Maxfield’s size makes it difficult to win games with the long ball.

“You get here and it’s like, ‘Holy crap, this place is a graveyard,’ ” Chase said. “First couple of weeks, you’re definitely still trying to get used to the dimensions. At school, it’s like a bandbox.”

Wagner’s Anthony Godino and North Carolina-Wilmington’s Ryan Jeffers drove in another two runs in the sixth. Marist’s Frankie Gregoire finished Upper Valley’s scoring with a lead-off home run into center field in the eighth inning.

Upper Valley’s relief corps of Saint Louis’ Sean Frontzak and Troy’s Will Carnley took over in the seventh, giving up combined three runs and four hits. Carnley struck out four in the final two frames. Sampson earned the win.

Upper Valley will take today off and is scheduled to host the Sanford Mainers at the Maxfield Sports Complex on Tuesday, although a rainy forecast may interefere with the schedule. It’s not like some inclement weather — or anything, for that matter — has been able to stop Upper Valley’s momentum.

“We said it from the beginning: As soon as those four runs came in, we came back into the dugout and said, ‘All right, we’ve got to battle with the hitters today,’ ” Chase said. “It’s been situational baseball the last few games. The pitchers have kept us in it. Today, we just had to bring out the bats and get it going.”

Notes: Lipscomb’s Cade Sorrells went 2-for-5 and scored a run batting ninth on Sunday, his first multi-hit game of the summer. …

Rather than hitting the batting cage, the Nighthawks will be hitting the golf course today. The team is hosting its first Eagles, Birdies and Nighthawks Golf Classic at Montcalm Golf Club starting at 10 a.m. ... Bloomsburg’s Ashton Raines is scheduled to start against Sanford on Tuesday. The righty has pitched seven innings and given up five hits and struck out eight in two appearances, most recently a 9-4 win over Vermont on June 13.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.