Hawks Fall in Extras

  • The Upper Valley's Wes Bucher throws a pitch in the fifth inning of the Nighthawks game against the Keene Swamp Bats on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at the Maxfield Sports Complex, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Nighthawks pitcher Ryan Parker throws from the mound in their game against the Keene Swamp Bats on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at the Maxfield Sports Complex, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Upper Valley's Anthony Quirion slides into second base. The Nighthawks played the Keene Swamp Bats on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at the Maxfield Sports Complex, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Upper Valley's Bryant Bowen is out at second as Keene's Jake Whitcomb prepares to throw to first on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at the Maxfield Sports Complex, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Upper Valley's Jordy Allard plays a quick game of catch with Thomas Thorburn, 10, of White River Junction, Vt., before their game against the Keene Swamp Bats on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at the Maxfield Sports Complex, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Upper Valley's Matt Tarabek tosses to second to score an out for the Nighthawks in their game against the Keene Swamp Bats on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at the Maxfield Sports Complex, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Upper Valley's Anthony Meduri receives high fives from his team as the Nighthawks prepare to step up to bat against the Keene Swamp Bats on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at the Maxfield Sports Complex, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/22/2018 12:05:19 AM

White River Junction — Defensive mistakes and lost leads have become something of a habit for this season’s Upper Valley Nighthawks.

Thursday’s 7-5, 10-inning loss to the Keene Swamp Bats wasn’t pretty, by any means. Upper Valley gave up yet another lead in the game 24 hours after a ninth-inning home collapse to the Valley Blue Sox. Five Nighthawk pitchers allowed a combined 13 hits and three walks. It was the first time this summer the Nighthawks dropped consecutive games.

“We talked about it post-game,” said Upper Valley head coach Jason Szafarski. “Not making pitches that could put them away. … With the errors, you can’t have that. Especially against a good, offensive club like them. They’re top three in the league, and they capitalized. They got the hits when they needed to.”

Upper Valley (8-5) is 2-3 in its last five games and has struggled to keep up with its NECBL opponents offensively, particularly on off nights for its usually solid pitching staff. UV also made two errors in the loss, both of which allowed runs to score.

“You’ve just got to lock in defensively,” Szafarski said. “Some of the miscues late, I hope, are plays we learn from.”

Keene (6-8) took an early advantage with a two-out, two-run home run by University of Dayton’s Brandon Smith in the top of the first inning off of Upper Valley starting pitcher and West Georgia University product Ryan Parker. The bomb also scored Saint Joseph University’s Charlie Concannon, the former Nighthawk from their inaugural season in 2016. The homer was only the third hit by any team at Maxfield this season.

Upper Valley tied the game with a run in its first two at-bats. Minnesota’s Riley Smith drove in one run on a first-inning grounder. Southern Mississippi catcher Bryant Bowen drove in the other with a second-frame double ripped deep into left field, scoring Wichita State’s Ross Cadena from second base.

Bowen (three hits, two RBIs) later gave the Nighthawks the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with an RBI single that dropped into center field. Alvin Melendez (Fordham) followed up with a bases-loaded hit to plate Wichita State’s Hunter Gibson and give Upper Valley a 4-2 lead.

Keene got the lead back with three runs in the sixth inning off of UV relief pitcher Wes Bucher (West Georgia). The Swamp Bats loaded the bases twice and scored two runs before a dropped pop-up to Nighthawks left fielder Anthony Meduri (Binghamton) gave Keene a 5-4 lead.

Upper Valley tied the game in the ninth to force extra innings. Notre Dame’s Eric Feliz led off with a double off the center-field wall. He advanced to third on a bunt from Melendez and scored on a wild pitch from Swamp Bats relief pitcher Justin Willis (Vanderbilt).

But Keene rallied again in top of the 10th inning, putting runners on first and second base with one out before Szafarski went to the hard-throwing Elon University pitcher Ty Adcock. The UV closer gave up a single to load the bases. Anthony Quirion’s wild throw home allowed Concannon to score the game-winning run. Adcock walked in the next run before getting out of the inning.

Upper Valley stranded nine baserunners on Thursday. It stranded 10 against Valley on Wednesday.

“Jason Szafarski does a good job over there,” said Keene head coach Lyndon Coleman. “They played well. Fortunately, when you play a tight game like that an error could swing it either way. That’s what ended up happening.”

Parker was serviceable in his third start of the summer, exiting the game in the fourth inning after allowing five hits and two runs. He also struck out four.

Bucher lasted only two innings after giving up three runs, two earned, in the sixth. Saint Joseph’s Cole Stetzar and Plymouth State University’s David Sampson pitched a combined 3⅓ innings for Upper Valley in relief.

Szafarski called today’s game at the Blue Sox’ Mackenzie Stadium a must-win game. UV lost consecutive games only three times last summer; its longest skid lasted three games. The team is also 1-6 all-time at Valley’s home field.

“We got the right guys on the mound to stop that slide in (Reid) VanScoter and (Jordan) DiValerio,” Szafarski said. “We’ve only given up one run when they pitch back-to-back. I’m pretty sure they’re going to do a good job, throw a ton of strikes and hopefully the defense picks it up behind them.”

Notes: Troy infielder-pitcher Sadler Goodwin was removed from the Nighthawks roster before Thursday’s home game. Upper Valley general manager Noah Crane said Goodwin, batting .333 in three games and pitched only two innings, has left the team and gone home for the summer. … Andrew Houde, a Newport High graduate and sophomore at Keene State, pitched two innings for the Swamp Bats and allowed only one hit, one walk, and struck out two Upper Valley batters. … Announced attendance was 444 at Maxfield.

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




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2019 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy