Goodbye, Good Riddance: Streaking Mountaineers Handle Nighthawks Again

  • The Upper Valley Nighthawks' Ty Adcock strides past the tag of the Vermont Mountaineers' Ronald Medina at first base during their game at the Maxfield Sports Complex in White River Junction, Vt., Saturday, July 28, 2018.(Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to James M. Patterson

  • The Vermont Mountianeers' Jarficur Parker, right, collides with Nighthawks shortstop Austin Wilhite in the fifth inning of the Mountaineers' 4-2 win at the Maxfield Sports Compex in White River Junction, Vt., Saturday, July 28, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/28/2018 11:34:05 PM
Modified: 7/28/2018 11:34:30 PM

White River Junction — The Upper Valley Nighthawks are probably fortunate. Chances are good they won’t have to face their in-state rivals again this season.

The Nighthawks (22-18) committed three errors — their most in five games — and scattered five hits in a 4-2 loss to the Vermont Mountaineers on Saturday night at the Maxfield Sports Complex.

The defeat was Upper Valley’s fourth straight to Vermont since July 7, allowing the Mountaineers — one of the NECBL’s hottest teams over the last three weeks — to clinch the Governor’s Cup for the first time since the Nighthawks’ inaugural season in 2016.

“I don’t care about them, I couldn’t care less,” Upper Valley head coach Jason Szafarski said. “Our main goal is to win a championship. They’ve been playing great baseball. Defensively, we had some key miscues, a couple of unlucky infield singles, and they got a win out of it. They did a good job.

“It was all in good fun,” he added. “If that’s the climax of their season, I hope ours is a lot bigger than that.”

Upper Valley fell even with the Sanford Mainers in the New England Collegiate Baseball League Northern Division standings with the loss, making the three-way race with the Keene Swamp Bats for the division’s final two playoff spots a virtual tie. The Nighthawks have four games remaining after today’s NECBL All-Star Game starting Monday against the Mainers. Sanford and Keene both have five scheduled games left; they were each rained out on Saturday.

The Mountaineers, which began the season 6-13, has stayed alive in the playoff race by going 14-9 in July. A win over the Nighthawks on Saturday kept Vermont mathematically in playoff contention with only two games remaining.

“They’re arguably the hottest team in the NECBL right now,” Szafarski said. “They’ve been playing great baseball and it might have started when we went down there and they beat up on us pretty good.”

Upper Valley pitcher Danny Wirchansky, from Pace University, took the loss, giving up three runs on five hits and a hit batter in the seventh inning. It was his first defeat in three starts and four appearances since returning to the team in early July.

“I thought I threw well, personally,” Wirchansky said. “I thought I gave us a good chance to win. … It’s frustrating, especially losing the Governor’s Cup. But for me, for selfish reasons, I felt good about how I threw. Other than that, I’m still a little disappointed about how the runs scored.”

Brian Weissert, the righty from Fordham, left the game with a bicep injury in his throwing arm one inning into his third start of the summer. Nighthawks general manager Noah Crane said the move was “precautionary, nothing serious.” Weissert said after the game his arm felt fine.

“Weissert was supposed to go longer,” Szafarski said. “It turned into a staff day. That wasn’t expected.”

Plymouth State’s David Sampson took over in the second inning, giving up only one hit over the next three. But Vermont’s Paul Witt (Virginia Commonwealth) put the first run on the board in the fifth inning, scoring Sam Duran (Nova Southeastern) on a sacrifice fly into left field off of Nighthawks reliever Jack Ipsen (Bryant).

Upper Valley answered with RBI singles from Chris Berry (North Florida) and Greg Hardison (UNC-Greensboro) to take the lead in the bottom of the inning. Davis Mikell and Matt Tarabek each reached base on walks. Berry drove in Mikell from second base with a double, his ninth of the season, and Hardison drove in Tarabek from third base two batters later. Berry was caught trying to come home to end the inning, Upper Valley holding a 2-1 lead.

But the Mountaineers took over in the seventh off of Wirchansky. The Stony Point, N.Y. native entered the game in the sixth inning and had four straight strikeouts before losing control. He hit Vermont’s Nolan Tressler (Georgia Southern) with a pitch and gave up three runs on four-straight hits and a Nate Grys (Western Michigan) sacrifice fly. The Mountaineers led, 4-2, after seven innings and never looked back.

“The other balls weren’t hit hard, they were kind of like swinging bunts,” Wirchansky said. “That’s just the game of baseball. The balls won’t be hit hard sometimes but they can get hits out of it.”

Hartford High graduate Jordy Allard (SNHU) struck out two in the last two innings for the Nighthawks.

It was an off night for the offense, too. Austin Wilhite, the steady offensive presence from Georgia Tech, was 0-for-4 with a season-high three strikeouts against the Mountaineers. Upper Valley’s last four hitters in the lineup — Ross Cadena, Davis Mikell, Bryant Bowen and Matt Tarabek — were a combined 0-for-13 with three walks and two runs scored.

Szafarski still likes his team’s chances to reach the postseason.

“I feel really good moving forward only because of the limited amount of games we have left,” Szafarski said. “A bunch of teams still have six, seven games left. From a personnel standpoint, we should be well rested. Other teams can’t say that. I just hope we start playing like we did last week and not like tonight.”

Notes: Friday’s game against the Valley Blue Sox, which was postponed after 4⅔ innings due to inclement weather, has been rescheduled for Tuesday at 4:40 p.m. at Maxfield ahead of the regularly-scheduled 6:30 p.m. contest. The game will resume where it left off: Top of the fifth inning, two outs, Nighthawk runners on first and second base, Upper Valley with a 2-0 lead. Game two has been shortened to seven innings. … West Georgia pitchers Wes Bucher and Ryan Parker, along with Long Island catcher Eddie Modica, have all been removed from the Nighthawks roster ahead of today’s NECBL All-Star Game. Bucher pitched 13⅔ innings for the Nighthawks with a 6.58 ERA. Parker was 3-2 with a 3.50 ERA. Modica was batting .184 in 14 games. “No point in being there if you throw every other year #gohawks,” Bucher tweeted on Saturday afternoon. … Melissa Richardson won the team’s diamond dig after the game involving a near 50 women digging through the infield with plastic spoons looking for a diamond from Von Bargen’s Jewelry in Burlington. The stone was worth close to $1,000.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at or 603-727-3306.

Sign up for our free email updates
Valley News Daily Headlines
Valley News Contests and Promotions
Valley News Extra Time
Valley News Breaking News

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy