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Nighthawks run win streak to four

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/20/2021 6:22:21 AM
Modified: 7/20/2021 2:45:31 PM

MONTPELIER — After the Upper Valley Nighthawks closed out last week with a close win, manager Justin Devoid expressed faith in his offense.

He said he knew there’d be more games where the Nighthawks put up a lot of runs, and that they’d be in good shape if they kept up the strong pitching.

That proved prophetic on Monday, as the Nighthawks cruised to a 9-2 NECBL win, their fourth in a row, beating the Vermont Mountaineers at Recreation Field.

“I think we're playing a good brand of baseball right now,” Devoid said. “I think we fell into a lull a couple weeks ago, so right now we're just trying to stay excited, stay on the win streak, and just keep playing clean baseball. And that's what we gotta do the rest of the season.”

The Nighthawks (19-12) were in control for most of the game. They took the lead in the second inning on an RBI single by shortstop Luca Trigiani (St. Josephs, and scored once more in the third on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Gehrig Anglin (Wright State).

In that third inning, the Nighthawks loaded the bases with one out but only got the one run. But Devoid wasn’t worried about leaving those opportunities on the table.

“We had some good pitching lined up,” Devoid said. “These guys were ready to throw. I knew if we played clean defense that we were going to win this game. We knew the chances were going to come. One through nine can hit, and we know that.”

The chances did continue to arise, and Upper Valley broke the game open in the fifth inning. The Nighthawks tallied four runs, two of which scored on triple by Anglin. They added three more in the sixth, including a two-run home run by left fielder Alan Roden (Creighton).

Roden and Anglin, the Nighthawks’ No. 3 and 4 hitters, paced the team’s offense. Roden finished 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, the homer, two RBIs, and two runs. Anglin went 2-for-4 with a double, the triple, three RBIs and two runs.

Anglin could tell early he was set for a big game.

“In the first at-bat, I just realized (I was) seeing the ball well out of the pitcher's hands,” Anglin said. “No matter what he was throwing me, I knew I was going to get it.”

Nighthawks designated hitter Andrew Walker (Xavier) also recorded a multi-hit game. Right fielder Parker Haskin (Elon) doubled, walked and scored three times. Every player in the Nighthawks lineup reached base at least once, and only two players didn’t get at least one hit.

Meanwhile, the Mountaineers (14-15) created opportunities throughout the game but couldn’t convert most of them.

Jackson Haga (Liberty) put together one of his best outings of the summer on the mound for Upper Valley. Haga threw a season-high four innings of shutout baseball, surrendering three hits and no walks with one strikeout. Each of the baserunners Haga allowed, all from singles, were eliminated on double plays.

Cameron Bye (Wichita State) gave up two earned runs in the sixth inning, though the Nighthawks had a comfortable lead by then. Zane Kmietek (Marist), Nick Cantone (Marist), and Connor Holden (Wichita State) each threw scoreless frames to close out the win.

The Nighthawks remain in second place in the NECBL Northern Division, trailing the Keene Swamp Bats by a half-game.

Devoid knows his squad is battling for the division lead and is one win over Vermont away from clinching the Governor’s Cup, but he’s not paying a lot of attention to the standings and scoreboard. He’ll glance at them after games, but he’s locked in on the task at hand each day.

“We have a lot of games this week. We gotta focus on what we have to do,” Devoid said. “And if we do what we have to do, then everything else will fall in place.”

The Nighthawks remain on the road Tuesday to face the Sanford Mainers at Goodall Park.

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


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