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Mountaineers get the better of Nighthawks pitching



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, June 07, 2019

MONTPELIER — One by one, Upper Valley Nighthawks pitchers fell apart on the mound against the in-state rival Vermont Mountaineers on Friday night.

It didn’t help that UV’s hitters went silent 24 hours after coming out on top of a hitting spree.

Upper Valley pitchers Cal Carver and Henry Gladson each ran into trouble and couldn’t escape. It all resulted in a 7-1 defeat for the Nighthawks in Vermont’s season opener at Montpelier Recreation Field.

Nighthawks batters, after 11 hits and three home runs in a 14-8 win over the Keene Swamp Bats on Thursday, only managed two hits on Mountaineers starter and University of Pennsylvania sophomore Christian Scafidi.

Upper Valley fell to 1-1 with the loss and heads back to the Maxfield Sports Complex for its home opener against the Danbury Westerners on Saturday at 6 p.m. Phillip Sanderson, a junior from UNC-Greensboro, is expected to the start on the mound for the Nighthawks.

Upper Valley issued nine walks to Vermont on Friday night.

“Obviously, the free bags killed us there,” said Upper Valley head coach Keller Bradford. “We have a lot to work with. I think both of those guys (Carver and Gladson) will do fine. It’s their first outing here, and neither one of them pitched much down the stretch in school ball. The more work they get, the better they’re going to be, for sure.

“Rule of thumb 100 percent of the time is leadoff walk or two-out walk is always going to end up scoring,” Bradford added. “We may have out-hit them, but they had hitting at the right time. Timely hitting. We didn’t really have that.”

Carver (Wichita State), Upper Valley’s lone lefty, collapsed in the second inning, walking in the first run of the night on back-to-back free passes. He later threw a wild pitch that allowed Vermont’s Kevin Brenning to score from third base. In the third, a pickoff play to first base by Carver escaped Nighthawks first baseman Anthony Quirion, allowing two more runs to score. Another walk and Carver was done, leaving the game with three hits, two earned runs, six walks and four strikeouts. The Mountaineers led, 4-0, after three innings.

Gladson (Notre Dame) was strong in the fourth inning but fell apart in the fifth, giving up three walks to load the bases before hitting Vermont’s Matt McDermott with a pitch. He was pulled for Castleton’s Davis Mikell, leaving the game with three walks and two strikeouts and the Mountaineers hold a 5-0 lead.

Vermont took advantage of Mikell in the fifth, scoring on a wild pitch and an RBI single by the Mountaineers’ Austin Gauthier to give the hosts a 7-0 lead. But the Castleton righty settled down, throwing back-to-back clean innings in the sixth and seventh for some defensive stability.

“Davis had a great outing, a few scoreless innings,” Bradford said. “I feel like no matter what the score is, we’re going to keep grinding.”

Upper Valley’s offense, however, was nowhere to be found, running into trouble against Scafidi. The hard-throwing Vermont pitcher fanned four hitters, pitched three straight hitless innings and was an energized menace on the mound.

The Nighthawks had their best chance to score in the fourth, loading the bases with one out and left fielder Dan Bolt (Bradley) at the plate. Bolt popped up to left field, a ball caught by Vermont’s Corey DiLoreto, and Greg Hardison (UNC-Greensboro) was caught at home on DiLoreto’s throw for the double play.

“It’s a long summer,” Bradford said. “We’re not going to win all of them. We just have turn it around tomorrow night.”

Hardison finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk for the Nighthawks, on a night when Upper Valley had seven hits to the Mountaineers’s five. Marcano was 1-for-2 with a walk and scored Upper Valley’s lone run on a passed ball in the ninth inning. Jack Zyska was also 1-for-4.

“We’re not going to stop fighting; we’re not going to give up,” Bradford said when asked what he learned about his group in the loss. “Even in that last inning — we stole a base, scored a run. I think we’re going to continue to grind out AB’s throughout the game.”

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