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Nighthawks notebook: Trainer McCoy has seen it all

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/13/2019 10:18:02 PM
Modified: 7/13/2019 10:18:00 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — At this point, Karissa McCoy has probably seen it all. Well, almost. Taking care of a summer college baseball team for 22 home games over a two-month season would help any athletic trainer run the gauntlet of their medical expertise.

McCoy has learned that firsthand. She’s in her second season as the athletic trainer for the Upper Valley Nighthawks, a contracted position through the Gifford Health Care’s rehabilitation services. She also serves as the trainer for Randolph High and Vermont Technical College, a job that McCoy said she loves for its unpredictability.

“You have to be ready for anything,” said McCoy, a 2015 Castleton University graduate, during Wednesday’s home game with North Adams. “They will throw everything at you. … I never know what I’m walking into that day.”

With the Nighthawks, she gets a chance to work with collegiate athletes in tune with their bodies and recovery techniques. At Randolph, athletic training is much an education as it is a recovery from injury. At a higher level with Upper Valley, McCoy — who played field hockey at Castleton — can broaden her skills.

“I like the college level because they understand the work ethic that needs to go into it,” she said. “I had never worked the high school until this past year, and it was rewarding in the fact that I was teaching kids how to take care of their bodies from nutrition to physical, mental. It was more educational at the high school.”

The toughest part of the job with the Nighthawks, she said, is the turnover. Work with an injured athlete is often cut short after in summer ball, as injuries often lead to a quick trip home.

“Yes, there’s management for the player who wants to stay and wants to work through stuff, but most times they get hurt and go home,” she said. “I could walk in and there could be five new guys, or it’s this weird world of they go home and never come back.”

McCoy was busy on Wednesday. She worked with the Nighthawks’ Paxton Thompson — who was recovering from an oblique injury — on the pitcher’s mound, studying his mechanics and his movements during a bullpen session. She helped care for Andrew DeRoche’s arm; the Trinity product pitched six innings against Sanford the night before.

All in a day’s work to keep Upper Valley’s players healthy and ready to go.

“Their drive to get better, it’s very rewarding to work with guys who want to get to the next level, who want to work hard and are willing to work hard for you and put in the work to get better,” McCoy said. “Even off the field, exercises like rehab and self care, they take care of themselves. That’s really fun and rewarding to work with.”

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Providing a Jolt: Newcomer Jeff Costello has clearly found a home in Upper Valley’s outfield.

He’s started in each of his first three games since joining the Nighthawks last week, going 2-for-8 with a walk and a strikeout in his first two starts. He was cut from the Cape Cod League’s Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in late June after batting .400 with two runs, a double, a triple and two RBIs in six games.

The junior from Northeastern batted .267 in 54 starts this spring, and has provided some stability in the outfield for a Nighthawks team that lost Lamar center fielder Avery George for the summer to a knee injury.

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One Small Hiccup: Will Carnley had been solid this summer for the Nighthawks, entering Friday’s game against the Newport Gulls with a 2-0 record and a 1.59 ERA with a NECBL pitcher of the week award in his back pocket.

That hot start came crashing down at Cardines Field as Carnley gave up nine hits and nine runs in two innings and 16 batters faced in an eventual 12-2 loss. It was his first defeat of the summer, blowing up his ERA to 4.15 through six starts.

“That hasn’t happened before,” Carnley said. “I was hitting my spots, but they were all over it.”

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Not Another One: Troy University first baseman Easton Kirk was held out of the Upper Valley lineup on both Friday and Saturday with a left knee injury. He is second on the team with a .302 batting average with six runs, two home runs and 11 RBIs in 12 games for the team. The severity of the injury was unknown as of Saturday.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at or 603-727-3306. 

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