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Nighthawks Notesbook: Two Ex-Hawks Pay Maxfield Visits



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, June 23, 2018

Two former Upper Valley Nighthawks have made their ways through the Maxfield Sports Complex this week.

The first was Frankie Gregoire on Wednesday night, the muscular outfielder from Marist who roamed the Nighthawks’ outfield with last summer’s squad. Gregoire has since signed with Upper Valley’s Northern Division rival, the Valley Blue Sox, batting .259 with seven hits, three doubles, three runs scored and two RBIs in his first seven games for Valley. He played left field the Blue Sox’ come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Nighthawks at Maxfield, going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.

The signing, and Gregoire’s return to the region, got the attention of Marist teammate and two-year Nighthawks pitcher Mike Coss on Twitter.

“Wish I could be at the @uvnighthawks game tonight,” Coss wrote on Wednesday. “Are the boo-bird going to come out? Awkward night at Maxfield!!”

The next was Keene’s Charlie Concannon on Thursday, the Saint Joseph’s University outfielder from Upper Valley’s inaugural campaign in 2016. Concannon was released from the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod League earlier this week, forcing the utilityman to choose between the New England Collegiate Baseball League and the Northwoods Baseball League as a destination to finish up his summer ball. Concannon chose the former, got in touch with Swamp Bats general manager Kevin Watterson and joined the squad on Tuesday.

“It’s been kind of cool with how different I think that I’ve grown as a person since the last time I was over there,” Concannon said before Thursday’s game at Maxfield. “I was talking to Noah and a couple of my teammates that I have over there. It’s interesting how much has changed.”

Concannon, the West Chester, Pa., native, played all 46 games for the Nighthawks in 2016, batting .245 with 35 hits, seven doubles, six home runs and 19 RBIs. His return to Maxfield was something of a reunion, allowing him to catch up with Saint Joseph’s teammates Cole Stetzar and Jordan DiValerio as well as Nighthawks general manager Noah Crane.

“The biggest difference (between the two clubs), the most obvious one, is the field,” Concannon said. “If you get a fly ball into center field in Keene, you’re in good shape. We were playing (something like) a football game last night.”

Nighthawks on the Move: Upper Valley signed Pace University senior Danny Wirchansky to the roster this week after the left-handed pitcher was cleared to throw after recovering from an injury he suffered during the spring. Wirchansky, who was stellar last summer with the Nighthawks last summer, is scheduled to join the team on Tuesday.

Bloomsburg University pitcher Ashton Raines was released from the Cape Cod League’s Brewster Whitecaps last week. Raines was a NECBL all-star last summer, finishing the season 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA in six starts and 10 appearances. He has since signed with the Coastal Plain League’s Morehead Marlins.

UV Falls to Valley, Again: Jason Szafarski’s Nighthawks have not had too much luck against the Valley Blue Sox in his two seasons with the squad.

A case in point was Wednesday’s 4-3 loss, one in which the Hawks let a 3-0 lead vanish in a ninth-inning collapse. The Nighthawks are 2-6 against the Blue Sox during Szafarski’s two-year tenure and are 3-10 all-time.

“It’s an emotional roller coaster,” Szafarski said on this week’s episode of the Valley News Hawks Talk podcast. “You played the game last night, you wake up this morning and replay everything in your head. Obviously, some things could have been different. Maybe we left A.J. (Franklin, the Vanderbilt pitcher) in too long.”

Franklin cruised through three innings before running into trouble in the ninth. He left the game having allowed three runs, seven hits and a walk.

“The way the two teams are constructed, they’re the exact same,” Szafarski said. “I think Noah and (Hunter Golden, the Blue Sox general manager) have the same idea of the type of player they want. If you look at the rosters, it’s all mid-major kids. It’s all kids that play, kids that have at-bats. Both teams don’t have the big-name schools. … When the guys come, they’re already seasoned and polished.”

One Quarter Down, Three to Go: At the NECBL regular-season quarter pole, here are the league’s top performers:

Best Hitter: Jackson Coutts, North Adams (.477 average, 21 hits, 10 RBIs, four doubles).

Best Pitcher: Kumar Nambiar, Mystic (2-0, 0.52 ERA, 13 strikeouts, 17 innings pitched).

Weirdest Stats: James Proctor, Mystic (0.00 ERA, eight runs allowed, none earned, 11 walks, 12 strikeouts).

Best Offense: Newport Gulls (103 runs, 161 hits, 37 doubles, .320 collective batting average).

Best Pitching Staff: Plymouth Pilgrims (2.59 ERA, 50 runs, 103 hits, 51 walks, 126 strikeouts).

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