Two for the Price of One: Double-Duty Adcock Shines for Nighthawks

  • Starting pitcher Cole Stetzer delivers for the Upper Valley Nighthawks during Saturday's defeat of the visiting Sanford Mainers at the Maxfield Sports Complex. Stetzer allowed six hits and one run during seven innings while striking out eight batters, walking one and dropping his ERA to 1.99. Upper Valley won the NECBL game, 5-2. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to —Tris Wykes

  • Sanford Mainers runner Shane Marshall protests in vain Saturday after being tagged out on an attempted steal by Upper Valley shortstop Austin Wilhite (18) during the teams' NECBL game at the Maxfield Sports Complex. Second baseman Matt Tarabek prepares to receive the ball in the background. The Nighthawks won, 5-2. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to —Tris Wykes

  • Jordan DiValerio, center, jokes with Upper Valley Nighthawks teammate Ryan Parker, right, while selling 50-50 raffle tickets Saturday during the NECBL's team's 5-2 defeat of the visiting Sanford Mainers at the Maxfield Sports Complex. Jordy Allard is at left. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to —Tris Wykes

  • Cole Marcotte, 6, of Hartford lets a bean bag fly Saturday while playing corn hole at the Upper Valley Nighthawks' NECBL game with the visiting Sanford Mainers. The Nighthawks won, 5-2, before a crowd announced at 612. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to —Tris Wykes

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/21/2018 11:46:34 PM
Modified: 7/21/2018 11:46:51 PM

White River Junction — Ty Adcock’s successful seventh-inning dive home for the Upper Valley Nighthawks on Saturday was not graceful. The Elon (N.C.) University student wound up crossing the dish with his arms at his sides before his body caught in the clay and he rotated sideways like a log tossed down a hill.

“The ground was stickier than I thought it would be,” Adcock said with a bemused grin after his NECBL team’s 5-2 defeat of the visiting Sanford Mainers at the Maxfield Sports Complex. “I did a bit of a barrel roll.”

Fortunately for Adcock and the Nighthawks, the overall contest went more smoothly. Upper Valley’s triumph improved its record to 20-16 and maintained its fourth-place standing in the North Division. The Nighthawks are one game behind second-place Sanford and the Keene Swamp Bats, which are each four games behind the first-place Valley Blue Sox. Those four clubs are each 7-3 during their last 10 games.

Upper Valley has eight games remaining in the regular season, beginning with today’s visit to the North Adams (Mass.) SteepleCats. The second- and third-place teams in the final division standings stage a one-game playoff at the higher seed’s field. The winner of that matchup advances to face the first-place squad in a best-of-three series.

The Nighthawks might be even further out of postseason striking distance without Adcock. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound native of Oxford, N.C., was sent north by his college team with instructions to learn to pitch. He’d thrown a grand total of roughly 15 innings combined during his high school and collegiate career.

“The agreement was that I would pitch and take (batting practice) to keep my swing in shape,” said Adcock, who started 30 of the 50 games he played for Elon (36-23) during the spring. “But we had a few guys get injured and (Upper Valley) needed some outfielders. I’m hitting pretty good right now, so I guess I’ll stick in the lineup.”

Adcock batted only .210 for the Phoenix, but had a .983 fielding percentage. He made 10 pitching appearances, including one start and was 0-0 with a 6.94 ERA. None of that suggested he’d be hitting .385 in 10 games worth of Nighthawks plate action or have a 3.08 ERA during 11⅔ innings on the mound. Those aren’t staggering numbers, but they’ve provided a boost from the right field slot.

“I think I feel better when I pitch in the same game I’ve played in the outfield,” Adcock said. “I’m warmed up from moving around. If I haven’t played for two days and I’ve been sitting on my butt in the bullpen, it’s a different feeling.”

After the departures earlier this month of half a dozen players because of injuries, Nighthawks general manager Noah Crane added American International College’s Andrew Ciacciarelli as a utility man. However, he let it be known the club would use those who were left in pursuit of a third consecutive playoff berth. That makes Adcock’s dual capabilities even more valuable.

“I’m not sure which one I want to do more,” Adcock said. “I love playing the field but I’ve gotten into a groove pitching, too. I never really pitched in high school and was a closer just for three or four innings. In college, I just started throwing this season because we had some guys who were struggling with their command.”

Adcock’s sudden development makes a mockery of the hundreds of innings thrown by youngsters as they progress through Little League and high school in pursuit of college or professional roster spots. He’s working on adding a slider to an arsenal that includes a fastball, a changeup and a curveball that breaks from 12 to 6 on the figurative clock.

“The whole point here was to develop and not worry about the outcome,’’ said Adcock, who played in the lower-level Coastal Plains League last summer. “My changeup is really improved and the command of my fastball is better. Sometimes my curveball gets loopy when my arm slot gets out to the side.

“This is fun in a sense, but I have two years of (college) eligibility left and I have to take this serious and work at it hard. Baseball’s year-round if you want to make it to the next level.”

Adcock batted ninth and stroked two singles and drew a walk Saturday. The Nighthawks took a 3-0 lead after three innings and held it until the seventh when Sanford (20-14) scored once. Upper Valley answered with two more runs in its half of that frame and enjoyed a strong starting performance from pitcher Cole Stezar. He allowed six hits and one earned run during a seven-inning outing in which he struck out eight Mainers and walked one.

It’s the time of the season when NECBL players’ thoughts turn to home. Most have been playing baseball almost nonstop since January and will start up again on their college campuses in September. However, Adcock said he thinks the Nighthawks would be more than willing to delay their departures in exchange for a playoff run.

“Everybody wants to go home and see their family, but nobody on the field is trying to lose,” Adcock said. “I’m going to play my best and whatever outcome happens, it happens. I can speak for everybody on the team that we want to win.”

Upper Valley shortstop Austin Wilhite had two hits on Saturday and continued his strong showing in the field. He’s hitting .367 in 16 games since coming to the NECBL from the top-flight Cape Cod League. The Georgia Tech student has made three errors and has a .962 fielding percentage.

Notes: Nighthawks first baseman Davis Mikell is dating former Thetford Academy sports standout Kaitlyn Boyce. The pair met through friends in the Burlington area, where Mikell attended Champlain Valley Union High and Boyce is attending the University of Vermont. … Adcock, a North Carolinian, said that as far as he knows, he’s not related to Louisiana native Joe Adcock, who on July 31, 1954, set a Major League record with 18 total bases in a game with on four home runs and a double. That mark was broken by Shawn Green in 2002. … Members of the bullpen sit on metal benches — with the exception of reliever Jordan DiValerio, who reclines in his own folding camp chair, complete with armrests and cup holders. … Mainers starting pitcher Ed Baram wore his uniform shirt unbuttoned nearly to the waist and accessorized with a dangling, golden chain around his neck. … Upper Valley’s Anthony Quirion caught his third game of the summer. A backstop by trade, he’s been working mostly at first and third base with the Nighthawks. … Attendance was announced at 612 on a gorgeous, 70-degree night. … Entering Saturday’s games, the Newport (R.I.) Gulls led the NECBL in announced attendance at 1,964 fans per game and Upper Valley was seventh in the 13-team circuit at 466. Winnipesaukee is last at 157. The Nighthawks drew 332 per contest last summer, good for 11th place, and 434 during their inaugural, 2016 campaign. … Upper Valley plays its last four games of the regular season at home from July 28- Aug. 1.

Tris Wykes can be reached at or 603-727-3227.

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