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Anglin the hero in Nighthawks’ latest victory

  • The Upper Valley Nighthawks' Gregory Hardison steals second in the third inning as the Keene Swamp Bats' David Bedgood stands at second base during their game in White River Junction, Vt., on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Upper Valley Nighthawks pitcher Aaron Ernst has a brief talk with catcher Andrew Cossetti during their game with the Keene Swamp Bats on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Upper Valley Nighthawks' Gehrig Anglin loses his hat while chasing a hit during their game with the Keene Swamp Bats on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, June 27, 2019

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Good seasons for the Upper Valley Nighthawks have all had guys like Gehrig Anglin.

Brian Lau, the St. Joseph’s senior from 2016, comes to mind, as does Chris Berry, the North Florida infielder from 2018. They weren’t the squad’s hard-swinging power hitters, had no batting numbers that jumped off the statistics sheet, but they were simply clutch in big moments of a baseball game.

Time to add Anglin to the list.

The Wright State sophomore and East China, Minn., native hit a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 4-4 tie as the Nighthawks topped the Keene Swamp Bats, 7-5, at the Maxfield Sports Complex on Wednesday night. Dan Bolt (Bradley) added an insurance home run into right field, his first of the season, in the eighth inning following a 91-minute rain delay to help Upper Valley secure the win.

The Nighthawks improved to 8-6, leapfrogging the Swamp Bats in the NECBL Northern Division standings. They are 4-1 in their last five games and visit the Valley Blue Sox on Thursday, their second trip to Holyoke, Mass., in three days.

“I told them we didn’t go into a delay, put the tarp on, pull the tarp off, then spend 30 minutes fixing the field to lose a game,” said Upper Valley head coach Keller Bradford. “We did that so we could win a game and put a game away. They responded.”

Upper Valley’s offense stayed hot, amassing 12 hits. The Nighthawks have reached the 10-hit mark in three straight games and 10 times this season, including three contests with Keene.

“I think we have a lot of good players,” said Bolt, who finished the game 2-for-3 with three runs scored, an RBI and a walk batting lead-off. “I know we started off tough, but I think everyone is just getting back in the groove of things after a two-week break from the school season. With everyone getting back in the groove, we should be scoring a lot more runs.”

Keene jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Upper Valley starting pitcher Andrew DeRoche (Trinity) gave up back-to-back hits to the Swamp Bats’ first two batters. The latter, Randall Bednar, drove in David Bedgood from second base with a double to right field.

But the Nighthawks offense answered in the bottom of the inning, plating two runs on two hits for a 2-1 lead. Cole Frederick (Jacksonville State), the reigning NECBL hitter of the week who entered the game with a league-best .500 average, drove in Bolt from second with an infield single. Anthony Quirion (Lamar) laced the first pitch he saw into center field to drive in Frederick.

Upper Valley added runs in the third and fourth innings to build a 4-1 lead headed into the fifth. Quirion delivered Greg Hardison (UNC-Greensboro) in the third; Hardison hit an RBI single into right field to plate Bolt from second base in the fourth.

Keene threatened throughout the game, stranding seven runners in the first three innings. DeRoche lasted only two innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Aaron Ernst (Wright State) was strong in relief before the Swamp Bats jumped on the Carmel, Ind., native in the fifth with three runs on three hits — including two deep shots to center field — to tie the game at 4-4.

Anglin had the best response. After fouling off a 1-2 pitch, Anglin launched an offering from Keene reliever Jonathan Edwards over the right-center field fence with two gone in the sixth to put the Hawks ahead to stay.

Andrew Cossetti (St. Joseph’s) tripled into center field with two outs in the home seventh. Adam Smith, the next batter, drove him in to give the hosts a 6-4 lead.

“We’ve had timely hitting,” Bradford said.

Upper Valley’s bullpen also pulled through. Corley Woods (Jacksonville State) got the Hawks out of the fifth-inning jam with a strikeout and a fly out to left field before tossing a scoreless sixth with two hits. Phillip Sanderson (UNC-Greensboro) struck out a batter in a scoreless seventh.

After the delay, Keene’s Bedgood and Upper Valley’s Bolt traded home runs in the eighth, both over the right-field fence.

Nighthawks closer Aaron Haase (Wichita State) locked the game down in the ninth inning with two strikeouts and a ground out.

The Nighthawks’ Paxton Thompson (Bradley) is scheduled to get the start on Thursday night at Valley. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.

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