×

One and only: Nighthawks squeak past Mountaineers

  • The Upper Valley Nighthawks' Brian Moore fields a grounder while Vermont baserunner Dondrae Bremner heads to second on Friday, June 21, 2019, in White River Junction, Vt. The Nighthawks won 1-0. (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' Cole Frederick rounds third base to bring in the only run of the night against Vermont on Friday, June 21, 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.

  • Cole Marcotte, 7, of White River Junction, Vt., plays catch with a friend before the start of the Nighthawks' game with Vermont on Friday, June 21, 2019, in White River Junction, Vt. Marcotte has been to all the Nighthawks' games this year. He plays on Little League in Hartford. (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
Friday, June 21, 2019

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Everything was working for the Upper Valley Nighthawks: a hot starting pitcher, sound defensive play in the infield, an offense that manufactured a run on limited hits and a strong performance from the bullpen. And it came against their in-state rival Vermont Mountaineers, at the start of their longest consecutive stretch of games this summer while taking back the lead in the Governor’s Cup race.

All in a day’s work for the Nighthawks, who pulled away with a 1-0 win over Vermont at the Maxfield Sports Complex on Friday night.

Upper Valley left fielder Gehrig Anglin (Wright State) hit the game-winning RBI double in the sixth inning, driving in Cole Frederick (Jacksonville State) from second base. Nighthawks relievers Corley Woods (Jacksonville State), Skyler Pichardo (Marist) and Aaron Haase (Wichita State) no runs on four hits and struck out six in the final four innings.

It was the second consecutive victory over the Mountaineers this season, giving the Nighthawks a 2-1 lead in the Governor’s Cup race between the two Green Mountain state clubs.

“(Anglin) just finds a way to get it done,” Upper Valley head coach Keller Bradford said of his team’s left fielder. “I don’t think he’s hitting super high (.185 in nine games), but those hits seem to come at the right times. He’s making a case to stay in the lineup.”

Upper Valley improved to 5-5, beginning a stretch of 10 games in 10 days that goes until June 30; on Saturday, it hosts the Winnipesaukee Muskrats (1-7), in the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Northern Division basement.

Paxton Thompson (Bradley) was strong in his third start of the season, his second against the Mountaineers — both Upper Valley wins. He gave up no runs on five hits, three runs and two strikeouts in five innings, getting out of jams in each of the first four innings to keep the game scoreless.

“They’re a good-hitting club, for sure,” Thompson said. “I saw them twice. This was the way better outing than the first time. They’re a really good ball team. They have everybody who can stick it. It’s tough to pitch against them.

“I wasn’t a starter at school. I was just trying to get the swing of things; get past that four-inning hump so that I can finally qualify for a win,” he added. “It didn’t happen tonight, but that’s alright. I’m just trying to get comfortable being a starter now. That’s the role I’m going to jump into once I get back to school, hopefully.”

Vermont stranded 11 runners on base in the loss, and was unable to capitalize with runners on third base in both the first and second innings. The Mountaineers also stranded runners on first and second base in the fourth inning.

The game remained a scoreless tie after five innings thanks in large part to a strong start from Vermont starting pitcher Alec Huertas, who struck out eight batters in six innings.

“I thought it was tough to see his off-speed,” Anglin said. “He was getting a lot of people to chase balls that weren’t in the strike zone.”

In the sixth, Upper Valley found some light. Cole Frederick sent a one-out double into right center field — only the Nighthawks’ third hit of the night. Anglin, who redshirted his freshman season at Wright State, drove him in with an RBI double into left-center field to put Upper Valley ahead, 1-0.

“I knew all game (Huertas) was throwing me low,” Anglin said. “He was trying to make me chase off-speed. I got a change-up there. I saw that he left it up, (and) I just went and got it.”

Anglin’s RBI was the final hit of the night for Upper Valley, and it was all the offense it needed.

Woods allowed just one walk and struck out two in the next two innings of relief for the Nighthawks; Skyler Pichardo gave up two hits in the eighth, but he forced a pop-up to center field and a strikeout to end the threat. Haase, who has emerged as Upper Valley’s closer, gave up two hits, but struck out the side in the ninth to seal the win.

“We’re trying to get guys in and get them as many innings as possible,” Bradford said. “But when you get in these close situations like this, it’s nice to figure out who our guys are and know who to go to in that situation.”

The Nighthawks have an important stretch of games ahead, with three meetings with the rival Valley Blue Sox and two meetings with the Northern Division leading North Adams SteepleCats — one of which is on the road on Sunday.

But Upper Valley’s wins this summer have come in bunches.

Anglin said he hopes the victory over Vermont can be the start of something special.

“Let’s just say: when we’re on a winning streak, you don’t want to play against us,” Anglin said.

Game time against the Muskrats is scheduled for 6 p.m at Maxfield. Upper Valley defeated Winnipesaukee, 10-0, at Maxfield on June 11. Newcomer Brooks Gosswein, the Bradley University junior who arrived this week, is scheduled to get his first start for the Nighthawks.

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