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Nighthawks release dates; league adds team

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/26/2020 10:23:25 PM
Modified: 1/26/2020 10:23:10 PM

The Upper Valley Nighthawks will open up their 2020 season on June 3 in Montpelier against the Vermont Mountaineers, according to the schedule on the New England Collegiate Baseball League website.

Upper Valley will begin its season with a two-game road trip to face the Mountaineers then the Keene Swamp Bats before returning to Maxfield Sports Complex for its home opener against the Valley Blue Sox on June 6.

“I was pleased with how the schedule came out,” said Nighthawks president Noah Crane, whose team enters its fifth season this spring. “Valley is now in the Southern Division, which from a competitive standpoint I’m very happy about. Obviously, they’ve been one of the better teams in our league for a long time and we were always fighting for a playoff spot with them.”

With the addition of the Bristol Blue, the league now has 13 teams. The Northern Division, which the Nighthawks play in, is an even six teams. Upper Valley will face its division opponents six times — three road contests and three home dates. The Nighthawks are coming off a 24-20 season, which saw them miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

The Nighthawks will play a 44-game schedule starting in early June and lasting until Aug. 1 with a home game against the Winnipesaukee Muskrats.

Crane noted that the season starts slightly earlier than usual which could make for some cold and rainy weather.

Upper Valley will play three doubleheaders in June. The hardest road trip will come early in June when the Nighthawks play a doubleheader on June 10 at Newport, visit Sanford on June 12 and travel to North Adams on the 13th.

The NECBL All-Star Game will be hosted by the Newport Gulls and played at Cardines Field on July 19.

The current roster on the Nighthawks’ website features 26 players. Infielder David Marcano from New Jersey Institute of Technology is set to return.

“Bringing back a guy who has been here before is great because they help you shepherd the new guys in the way the Nighthawks run,” Crane said.

Upper Valley hired Braxton Martinez as its manager in the fall, but Martinez signed a professional contract with the Los Angeles Angels in December, ending his short stint as coach. Crane is still in search of his fourth skipper in four years.

Pete Nakos can be reached at pnakos@vnews.com.




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