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Sharks attack Nighthawks

  • Will Carnley



Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — One thing usually strikes both New England Collegiate Baseball League pitchers and hitters alike when they take a first glace at the Maxfield Sports Complex: it’s got a cavernous outfield, allowing pitchers to safely assume any home runs will well-earned, but few and far between.

Leave it to the NECBL’s newest club, the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, to throw any preconceived notions out the window.

The Sharks, who entered a contest with the Upper Valley Nighthawks with a 1-3 record on the road this summer, hit back-to-back bombs off of Nighthawks reliever Henry Gladson (Notre Dame) to break up a back-and-forth game in the eighth inning for a 10-5 win at Maxfield on Wednesday night. Upper Valley scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth, cutting into the Martha’s Vineyard lead, but ran out of time, falling to 4-5 while ending a three-game win streak.

The Nighthawks travel to the Valley Blue Sox on Thursday.

“We had three days off — whether it was an off day or a rainout. That can distract you a little bit,” Upper Valley head coach Keller Bradford said. “Mentally, it kind of took it out of us a little bit.”

Martha’s Vineyard simply outlasted the Nighthawks pitchers, as their inconsistent bullpen — which gave up seven runs in the eighth and ninth innings — slowly fell apart.

Upper Valley starting pitcher Will Carnley (Troy) ran into trouble early, giving up back-to-back triples to Martha’s Vineyard lead-off hitter Kai Nelson and No. 2 hitter Matt Chamberlain for an early 1-0 lead. Carnley then allowed another run to score on a wild pitch, but got himself into a two-out, bases-loaded jam. He struck out Sharks’ Conner Bock to end the inning, Martha’s Vineyard with a 2-0 lead.

The Nighthawks got one back in the bottom of the first, as an RBI double from Cole Frederick (Jacksonville State) — one of Upper Valley’s hottest hitters — scored Dan Bolt (Bradley) from third base. The Nighthawks trailed, 2-1, after one inning.

Frederick finished the game 4-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI for Upper Valley; he saw 10 strikes in four plate appearances — fouled six of them off and scattered four safely into the field. Frederick is batting .529 through his first four games with the team.

But Upper Valley showed some power to take a lead. Anthony Quirion (Lamar) hit a two-run home run into left-center field to give the Nighthawks a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth.

It was Quirion’s first home run of the season and the first bomb hit at Maxfield this summer.

Martha’s Vineyard tied the game in the fifth on a wild pitch from Carnley, bringing home Rudy Aguilar from third base. But the Troy University pitcher settled down after a tumultuous beginning to his second start of the season, pitching three consecutive clean innings in the second, third and fourth without a hit or a walk. He left the game in the sixth inning after giving up three runs on six hits and no walks and six strikeouts on 74 pitches.

Upper Valley stranded the go-ahead run at third base in the sixth inning after back-to-back hits by Frederick and Quirion put Nighthawk runners on first and third with two outs. Gehrig Anglin (Wright State) grounded out to third base to end the threat.

Phillip Sanderson (UNC-Greensboro) threw a clean inning in the seventh for the Nighthawks, striking out one. In the eighth, Gladson threw back-to-back strikeouts before losing sight of the strike zone; the Notre Dame product threw seven straight balls and two consecutive walks before he gave up a three-run home run to the Sharks’ Alan Burnsed.

Martha’s Vineyard pinch-hitter Ryan Hogan added another home run three pitches later, turning a 3-3 tie into a 7-3 lead. Gladson lasted only two-thirds of an inning on 25 pitches.

“It was (Gladson’s) day to get some work,” Bradford said. “Especially with these teams that are not in our division, I think it’s good for the guys and for us to rotate some guys who haven’t pitched in four or five days, get them in there and get them some work.

“I mean, he struck out the first two guys he faced. I thought we were cruising right there. I thought I would look like a genius.”

The Nighthawks weren’t done, fighting for two more runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut into the Sharks’ lead. Greg Hardison (UNC-Greensboro) and Frederick scored on RBIs from Quirion and Anglin, the latter representing the tying run with one out. Jack Zyska (Notre Dame) popped up into the infield and Andrew Cossetti (St. Joseph’s) struck out to end the inning.

Martha’s Vineyard (5-5) added three insurance runs in the ninth inning on Upper Valley relievers Aaron Haase (Wichita State) and Andrew DeRoche (Trinity).

Upper Valley will give Paxton Thompson (Bradley) with his third start of the summer on Thursday against the Blue Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

The Nighthawks are 1-8 all-time at Valley’s home turf, Mackenzie Stadium, in their three-year history.

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