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Nighthawks fall to Keene, 6-4

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/11/2021 9:05:34 PM
Modified: 7/11/2021 9:13:51 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The Upper Valley Nighthawks dropped a crucial NECBL baseball game Sunday, falling to the Keene Swamp Bats, 6-4, at Maxfield Sports Complex.

The Nighthawks (14-11) fell to third in the NECBL’s Northern Division with the loss. They now trail first-place Keene (16-7) by three games, and they dropped a half-game behind the North Shore Navigators (12-9-2).

Nighthawks manager Justin Devoid said the loss’ implications on the standings don’t make it sting any more.

“We knew coming in that they were the No. 1 team,” Devoid said. “In my eyes, I think we’re the No. 1 team. We can play with them, and we showed it today. They just beat us today. And I don’t think (in) a lot of our losses this year we got beat. And today, we got beat.”

The Nighthawks cut a 5-2 deficit to 5-4 in the eighth inning on a two-RBI single by designated hitter Parker Haskin (Elon).

In the ninth, Keene third baseman Ronny Medina (Florida Southwestern State) hit an RBI single to extend the lead to 6-4. Nighthawks right fielder Gehrig Anglin (Wright State) beat the Swamp Bat runner on his throw to home plate, but catcher Kevin Pitarra (UNC Wilmington) couldn’t handle it. The Nighthawks came up empty in the bottom of the inning.

“Once you get into a tight ballgame at the end of the bullpens, a lot of these teams have some good guys,” Devoid said. “We just couldn’t make it happen in that last inning. But the eighth inning was promising. We got a key hit when we needed it. And we just needed one more.”

The Swamp Bats struck first with three runs in the first inning against Nighthawks starter Cameron Bye (Wichita State). Keene designated hitter Thomas Joseph (Jacksonville) hit an RBI double, and a second run scored on an error on the same play. A wild pitch brought in the third run.

Bye settled in after the first inning and pitched five innings. He surrendered the three earned runs on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts. He said he focused on the next pitch, which allowed him to find a rhythm.

“I didn’t really change much,” Bye said. “I just threw more fastballs. And didn’t leave any breaking balls over the plate.”

The Nighthawks got two runs back in the third inning on a Haskin RBI double, though Pitarra was thrown out at home on the same play. Haskin scored two batters later on a groundout.

“We didn’t beat ourselves. We didn’t give them this ballgame,” Devoid said. “They flipped a couple balls on the lines, got some hits when they needed them. But I thought our pitchers battled, and guys battled at the plate fo r the most part.”

The Nighthawks will look to rebound during Tuesday’s road doubleheader against the Sanford Mainers.

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


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