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Good call: Transfer to Babson worked out well for Nighthawks’ Allard

  • Former Hartford High School player Jordy Allard pitches at a game for the Upper Valley Nighthawks on June 10, 2018 in Hartford, Vt. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Nighthawks pitcher Jordy Allard, shown in action last season, helped Babson College to the NCAA Division III College World Series this spring. Allard is a native of White River Junction. (Valley News -- Tris Wykes)



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, June 15, 2019

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Jordy Allard found himself second-guessing the decision to transfer to Babson College. He remembers asking himself if it was the right thing for him to do.

It was a move down to NCAA Division III level baseball from the D-II ball at Southern New Hampshire University, where he pitched his freshman year. He wanted to focus more on pursuing a business degree and couple it with competitive collegiate baseball. One of his options when he transferred was Fairfield University, a D-I program in Connecticut. He chose Babson instead. The move didn’t help the Hartford High graduate and Bridgewater, Vt., native from having doubts.

By the spring, however, those doubts were squashed. Allard helped the Beavers reach the NCAA D-III College World Series, in the best season in the program’s history, while compiling an 8-1 record on the mound, with a 3.75 ERA in nine starts and 10 appearances. Allard struck out 44 with 59 hits and 24 runs allowed in 48 innings pitched.

“I was second-guessing myself; I was really worried in the beginning,” Allard said before Upper Valley’s game against the Winnipesaukee Muskrats on Friday. “Just like, ‘Is this the right choice? I just transferred schools.’ I didn’t know if it was the right decision. … It was just like, ‘I didn’t get to say I was a Division I baseball player (by declining Fairfield).’ It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.”

More important than anything was the fact that Allard’s confidence is back, carried over from a summer in the New England Collegiate Baseball League that helped him get back to what got him to the collegiate ranks in the first place.

Allard has returned to the Upper Valley for his second stint with the Nighthawks this summer; he was 1-0 with a 2.73 ERA in 16 games and three starts for the club last summer, with 30 Ks in 23 innings pitched. He’s retaken a bullpen role for the Nighthawks this season, seeing 3⅔ innings of work in the team’s first six games.

But a season at Babson has done wonders to Allard’s confidence, too. He was sparsely used as a freshman at SNHU, in part because of a change in mechanics over that winter that, Allard admitted, put him on the wrong path. Last summer’s stint with the Nighthawks — with their home games at his high school park, the Maxfield Sports Complex, just minutes from his hometown and a few miles down the road from his high school — allowed him to find his game again.

“In high school, I think I had one walk my senior year. I would just throw the ball in and around the plate,” Allard said. “At SNHU, I changed my mechanics and couldn’t find the strike zone. I think I had six walks right off the bat.

“I think last summer helped me get back to what I did my senior year of high school,” he added. “That’s what last year helped me do, even before Babson. Last year helped me get to Babson and get that confidence back that I could throw strikes. I think last year’s summer helped me just as much as Babson did.”

Allard’s season with the Beavers culminated in an appearance at the D-III World Series, pitching 8⅔ innings with six earned runs, one strikeout and 13 hits in an elimination-game loss to Johns Hopkins University. The 6-5 loss was his only defeat of the spring, putting an end to Babson’s historic season.

Allard said it was Babson’s seniors who made the team so special.

“We had a lot of seniors. When we needed a big hit or somebody to say something in the dugout, they knew when to fill in,” Allard said. “They were the most smart, academically and socially, human beings that I’ve been around and hard-working off the field as far as getting jobs. That was impressive to me. I kind of admired that about them.”

Allard will be an upperclassman next year with the Beavers. Where last summer was a chance to readjust his skills, this summer is a chance to wind down his workload — focus on his game with short stints on the mound and fine-tune his mechanics ahead of his return to Babson. He wants to do more in the neighborhood this season. He also wants to bring the Nighthawks a championship.

“This summer is just proving I can still do it, no matter where I am,” Allard said. “A lot has happened since the transfer. … Off the field, I want to get more involved in the community. I did that last year with the (Nighthawks’) camps last year; I want to do as many as I can. That’s really the highlight of my summer.”

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