HARTFORD, Vt. — After having its first road game of the season at Newport postponed Monday due to weather, the Keene Swamp Bats wasted no time attacking the Upper Valley Nighthawks Tuesday night.
The Bats took a 5-0 lead in the first inning and erupted for two more big rallies that resulted in their highest-scoring game to date, a 14-5 victory that avenged their season-opening loss to Upper Valley last Thursday.
Their first-inning rally was a welcome change of pace, as the Swamp Bats (2-2) had surrendered the first run in each of their first three games.
Back-to-back walks by Andrew MacNeil (1-for-4) and Randall Bednar (2-for-5) and a single by Logan Mathieu (2-for-6) loaded the bases. After Brandon Smith (2-for-6) flied out to center field, Keene started bringing in the runs. A bases-loaded walk by David Matthews (1-for-5) brought in the first run; Will Wagner (1-for-5) hit an RBI single to left; Kyle Ball (3-for-5) brought in two with a single to right; and David Bedgood (3-for-5) rounded out the scoring with an RBI single to right.
Upper Valley (1-4) got on the board in the second, scoring on an error by Wagner at third, then added three more unearned runs in the third thanks to three Bats errors — one by Ball at short, one by MacNeil in center and one by Matt Trehub (0-for-3) behind the plate.
But that was as close the Nighthawks got, as Keene strung together another five-run rally in the fifth and added four more in the ninth.
Bedgood and Smith recorded the Bats’ only extra-base hits, each hitting a two-run double (Bedgood in the fifth, Smith in the ninth).
Paul Kosanovich started for Keene and pitched 4.2 innings, giving up five runs, one earned, on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Michael Bacica came on in the fifth with two outs and runners on first and second. After giving up an RBI single to his first batter, he allowed just one hit and two walks with two strikeouts over 3.1 innings of relief to earn the win.
Marc Davis put the Nighthawks down in order in the ninth, including two strikeouts.
Jason Hudak took the loss for Upper Valley, lasting two innings and giving up five earned runs on six hits and three walks with one strikeout. The Nighthawks subbed in five different pitchers (Andrew DeRoche, Jordy Allard, Skyler Pichardo, Davis Mikell and Adam Smith) after that.
The Bats return home to Alumni Field tonight to host the New Bedford Bay Sox for a 6:30 contest.