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Nighthawks add seven to late-season roster

  • Nighthawks third baseman Thomas Latham takes a moment before going up to bat against the SteepleCats in White River Junction, Vt., on July 25, 2022. Latham, who is a student at Cisco College, joined the team in mid-July. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news photographs — Geoff Hansen

  • Trey Parker warms up with the other Nighthawks pitchers in the bullpen area before their game with the SteepleCats in White River Junction, Vt., on July 25, 2022. Parker, who is a student at Plymouth State University, is from Lebanon, N.H., and graduated from Kimball Union Academy. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Nighthawks' Adarius Myers is called safe after SteepleCats first baseman Ryan Galanie stepped off the bag during their game in White River Junction, Vt., on July 25, 2022. Myers, who is a student at Louisiana Tech University, joined the team in mid-July. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news — Geoff Hansen

  • Nighthawks pitcher Austin Walsh waits in the bullpen before the start of their game against the SteepleCats in White River Junction, Vt., on July 25, 2022. Walsh, a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is a late-season addition to the team. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/26/2022 9:39:03 PM
Modified: 7/26/2022 9:39:02 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Adarius Myers was chilling at home in Seminary, Miss., playing “MLB The Show” one evening this month when he got a call from his baseball coach at Louisiana Tech.

An outfielder, Myers started 44 games this spring in his redshirt sophomore season with the Bulldogs, batting .270 for a team that won the Conference USA tournament and played in an NCAA regional. But without any offers to play over the summer, Myers was working out, detailing cars and spending time with family.

That is until the call came about an opportunity to join the Upper Valley Nighthawks midseason as they prepared for the inevitable roster turnover that plagued them a year ago.

“At first I was hesitant, because I had a trip planned with my dad and some of my family members to go to Atlanta for a Braves game,” Myers said. “But I couldn’t turn down summer ball. I would much rather be here. A couple days later, I got on the road.”

Myers and his mother made the 21-hour drive from Seminary to the Upper Valley, stopping for a night in Salem, Va. He quickly found a host family and has started all seven games since arriving as the Nighthawks battle for the final spot in the New England Collegiate Baseball League playoffs.

Upper Valley has added seven players in all this month to replace those who left early. Five of them are pitchers, with Sam Slevin (Randolph-Macon College) making his debut against the Valley Blue Sox last Friday and four others arriving just in time for the final week of the season. Infielder Thomas Latham, who played his freshman year at Holy Cross and his sophomore season at Cisco (Texas) Junior College, debuted two days before Myers and is hitting .273 in eight games through Monday.

Latham was playing in the Piedmont Collegiate Baseball League in his home state of Virginia earlier in the summer while helping his family move within the state. But after seeing a tweet from Nighthawks pitching coach Chad Sturgeon asking for infielders and outfielders to finish out the season, he knew the chance to play in a much more prestigious league was too good to pass up.

“A lot of the guys down there threw really hard but didn’t necessarily have as much off-speed,” Latham said. “Here, there’s a lot of plus off-speed, which has been a little bit of an adjustment. It’s been good to see that kind of pitching and work through that, because now is a great time to get better before school ball in the spring.”

Slevin, also a Virginia native, knew about the Nighthawks because of Sturgeon, who coached him for two summers in high school while he was working in Norfolk, Va. Sturgeon reached out to Slevin, who pitched just 13 innings for Division III Randolph-Macon this spring, when it became clear Upper Valley would need more pitchers.

With the Nighthawks trailing by two runs entering the fifth inning of a slugfest against the Blue Sox, Slevin took the mound and restored order. He allowed a leadoff single in his first inning of work but then got a double play and his first NECBL strikeout. He pitched another scoreless inning in the sixth, and after the Nighthawks rallied for seven unanswered runs in a 11-7 victory, Slevin was credited with the win.

“It’s pretty crazy jumping in right into the middle of the season, because I didn’t get to make relationships with these guys at the start,” Slevin said. “But I’m glad they helped me in, and I felt really comfortable with the defense and my catcher. I might not have the metrics that all these (Division I) guys have, but I’m happy I can compete against them and with them.”

The Nighthawks have lost seven pitchers over the last two weeks — Jack Choate (Assumption College) and Trey Nordmann (Lipscomb) are pursuing pro ball; Nordmann’s Lipscomb teammates, Patrick Williams and Tyler Legere, went home; and left-hander Tommy Peltier (Canisius) made his final appearance Saturday at Bristol. Chris Lotito (Jacksonville) pitched five shutout innings and Michael O’Hanlon (Hofstra) threw two more for their last NECBL outings in Monday’s 8-0 win over North Adams.

Upper Valley’s four newest pitchers, along with Slevin, should help compensate during the last five regular-season games. Trey Parker (Plymouth State) is local to the area, growing up in Meriden and attending Kimball Union Academy. The Nighthawks also added right-handers Zach Rogers (Colby-Sawyer), Jack Swarbrick (Emory & Henry College) and Austin Walsh (Rensselaer Polytechnic), none of whom had appeared in a game entering Tuesday.

“It takes a special type of person to come here this late in the season,” Nighthawks manager Justin Devoid said. “I’m glad we picked up the guys we did. Some guys want to rest themselves, and school is right around the corner, so it’s a little difficult. You have to jump through a few hoops, but the guys who want to work hard and be here are going to be here.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.


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