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Nighthawk Notes: Northeastern’s Costello a valuable add



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, July 20, 2019

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. — Outfielder Jeff Costello has been all over New England this summer, trying to find a more permanent place to play his summer baseball. He seems to have found that with the Upper Valley Nighthawks, joining other late-season additions who have stepped into everyday roles in the late stages of the campaign.

For Costello, from Northeastern University and Lexington, Mass., who played with the Futures League’s Nashua Silver Knights last year, this summer began with a temporary contract in the Cape Cod League’s Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, where he batted .400 with two runs, a double, a triple and two RBIs in six games before he was cut. He then spent some time at home, picking up some local ball before getting the call from the Nighthawks. He joined the squad on July 10, filling in a void left by departed outfielder Avery George (Lamar).

Since then, Costello has gotten hot as several other departures have put him in a key role in the lineup. He went 3-for-4 against the Sanford Mainers on Thursday, entering the weekend with a .273 average in six games.

“It’s been a little hectic, but I’m really happy to be here,” Costello said on Thursday. “The guys have taken me in with open arms. We have a great thing going here. Everyone is hitting the (expletive) out of the ball right now.

“As far as an adjustment, it wasn’t too bad. I came from the Cape. Pitching right around the same — people try to gas you up with fastballs. As long as you have your foot down, ready for the fastball … that’s what my approach has been.”

Taylor Gibson has had a similarly chaotic summer, starting off at the Florida Baseball Ranch, a monthlong boot camp in Tampa, that ended in late June. He then got a phone call from Will Carnley, a longtime friend and former adversary at competing Alabama high schools, who told him the Nighthawks were looking for pitchers. Gibson said the extra work up north couldn’t hurt.

“At first, I kind of wanted to take a break (this summer),” Gibson said on Thursday. “But this is a really good team, and the guys are doing really well. I wanted to see if I could help out. Plus, it’s not going to hurt me coming up here and getting some reps in.

“I just really thought I’d come up here for a couple of weeks, get a little bit better. It’s a place I’d come to next year if they’d have me.”

Gibson, from Foley, Ala., a 17-minute drive from Carnley’s hometown of Silverhill, Ala., has seen limited time so far, pitching only in two games and 1⅔ innings with two earned runs and a strikeout.

“(Carnley) said it was a really cool place up here,” Gibson said. “I’ve known Will since seventh grade. We went to rival high schools. Me and him have been really close friends since we played travel ball together. This will be the first time we played together since middle school.”

Addition and Subtraction: The Nighthawks lost one of their most consistently strong players last week and added one of their hottest batters from a year ago.

Gehrig Anglin, the speedy outfielder from Wright State who led the NECBL in stolen bases for three weeks, left the team on Thursday, returning home to attend a memorial service for a close friend. Anglin was batting .276 with 29 hits, five doubles, 18 RBIs, 26 walks and 24 runs in 30 games for Upper Valley, a consistent presence atop the Nighthawks lineup; he was also on a six-game hitting streak.

Anglin’s departure was the second from Upper Valley’s lineup last week after Easton Kirk (Troy) left the team with a left knee injury.

To replace the holes in the lineup, the team signed Alvin Melendez, a returning Nighthawk from Fordham. Melendez, the speedy infielder form Whitestone, N.Y., was a dual threat for last year’s team, batting .290 with 20 hits, nine runs and five stolen bases. He was forced to return home in mid-July — along with seven other Nighthawks — after breaking his wrist on pitch that hit his hand.

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