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Sullivan homer makes a winner of Nighthawks

  • Upper Valley catcher Parker Haskin tags Sanford's Freddy Rojas Jr. out at the plate in the second inning of their game in White River Junction, Vt., on June 30, 2021. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Geoff Hansen

  • Upper Valley's Cade Lommel pitches from the mound in the first inning of their game against Sanford in White River Junction, Vt., on June 30, 2021. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Geoff Hansen

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/30/2021 11:36:17 PM
Modified: 6/30/2021 11:36:20 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The Upper Valley Nighthawks won their second straight NECBL game and third out of their last four Wednesday, defeating the Sanford Mainers, 6-5, at Maxfield Sports Complex.

The Nighthawks (12-8) pulled out a comeback victory for the second straight night as well. The Mainers (4-12) led, 3-1, through three innings and 5-3 at the seventh-inning stretch.

Third baseman Gehrig Anglin (Wright State) drove in a run on a ground out to cut the deficit to 5-4. The next batter, right fielder Alan Roden (Creighton) singled. Then designated hitter Will Sullivan (Troy) came up with the clutch hit: a line drive over the right-field fence for a go-ahead, two-run home run.

Sullivan said he was just trying to barrel up a pitch and that it felt really good when he saw the ball clear the wall.

“(Sullivan) struggled to play earlier in the day,” Nighthawks manager Justin Devoid said. “He was a little down in there. But I think his confidence turned around there, and that was huge for him. That fired the guys up, and I think that got everybody really excited. It got myself excited, that’s for sure.”

The Nighthawks had to hold on for their win in the top of the ninth inning. Reliever Jake Gigliotti (Northeastern) — who threw three innings and gave up one earned run on three hits, one walk and one hit batter with three strikeouts — hit the Sanford leadoff batter to put the tying run on first base. After a ground out, pitching coach Chad Sturgeon opted to bring in Nick Cantone (Marist) to close it out.

Cantone gave up a single to move the tying run to third and put the go-ahead run on first. But he then earned a strikeout and induced a ground out to Anglin — a close call at first, which the Mainers’ bench was incensed didn’t go their way — to end the game.

The efforts from relievers Gigliotti, Cantone and Tyler Spitzbarth (Valdosta State) gave the Nighthawks a chance to make their comeback. Starting pitcher Cade Lommel (Creighton) lasted four innings, surrendering three earned runs on five hits, one walk and four hit batters with four strikeouts. All three runs came in the second inning.

Lommel had to labor through a few of his innings. But Devoid said he fought through them hard.

“Cade battled,” Devoid said. “I thought he hit his spots really well. Just wasn’t getting the calls. And then a couple freebies. And that’s what it’s been coming down to for us the last few games is walks and hit batters, and that stuff comes back to bite you every once in a while. He battled through his innings.”

Second baseman Max Viera (Northeastern) recorded a three-hit game, and he finished a double short of the cycle. His home run was a solo shot, and he scored two runs in the game.

Viera said the home run was on a hanging slider that he turned on. He said he felt good coming into the game.

“I started off not too great in the beginning of the season, but I kind of refined my approach a little bit, and I was just happy to contribute to the team’s success,” Viera said.

Left fielder Andrew Walker (Xavier) and first baseman Ronald Evans (UNC Wilmington) each hit doubles. Evans had one RBI, and Walker scored two runs.

The Nighthawks will travel to Montpelier for their next game Friday at the Vermont Mountaineers.

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.


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