Nighthawks Split Doubleheader at Dean to Open Conference Season

Nighthawks Split Doubleheader at Dean to Open Conference Season

FRANKLIN, Mass. - The Newbury Nighthawks and Dean Bulldogs began their New England Conference Schedule with Saturday's doubleheader. Newbury took the first game 15-6, needing just five innings to start the NECC season 1-0, but the Bulldogs fought back with a late rally in game two for a 10-8 win, splitting the two-game set.

Game One: Newbury 15 - Dean 6 (Final - 5 Innings)

The Nighthawks offense exploded for a season-high 15 runs and 20 hits as Newbury took down Dean in five innings with a 15-6 win.

Nighthawks junior Arianna Gooden (Bakersfield, Calif.) went a perfect 5-for-5, including a triple, three runs scored, and three RBIs. Freshman Ambur Leczel (Glendora, Calif.) went 2-for-5 with a home run, five RBIs, and two runs scored. Freshman Kiana Hinson (La Habra, Calif.) finished 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.

Bulldogs sophomore Makenzie Souza (New Bedford, Mass.) batted 1-for-3 including a two-run home run. Senior Danielle Dumont (Nashua, N.H.) and junior Karissa Menzinger (Centereach, N.Y.) both went 2-for-3. Menzinger added an RBI and two runs scored.

Hinson wasted no time getting the Nighthawks on the board with her first career home run, a three-run shot to give the Nighthawks a 3-0 lead. Newbury would add one more in the top of the first to lead 4-0. 

Now leading 5-0 in the third, the Nighthawks increased their lead on a two-run single but Leczel, followed by a two-run triple by Gooden, holding a commanding 9-0 lead. The Nighthawks added two more runs to lead 11-0.

The Bulldogs got on the board in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles to trail 11-3. Souza capped off a five-run inning with her two-run home run to cut the deficit to 11-5.

Leczel responded for the Nighthawks in the top of the fourth with her second home run of the season, a two-run shot for a 13-5 lead.

Newbury would go on to win the game by nine in just five innings, picking up the 15-6 victory.

Game Two: Dean 10 - Newbury 8

The Nighthawks couldn't hold on to a late one-run lead as the Bulldogs pieced together a three-run sixth inning, forcing the split of the doubleheader with a 10-8 win.

Bulldogs junior Courtney Holden (Bridgeport, Conn.) and freshman Bridget McDonough (North Reading, Mass.) both finished 3-for-3, each adding an RBI and run scored. Junior Madisyn Butler (Richfield Springs, N.Y.) went 1-for-2 with a home run and three runs scored.

Nighthawks senior Alexis Vieira (Pawtucket, Mass.) went 3-for-4, all singles, with two runs scored. Freshman Caroline Mahoney (Easton, Mass.) batted 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. Senior Madison Elliott (Windham, Maine) and junior Sasha Miceli (Wareham, Mass.) both went 2-for-3.

Newbury looked to be in good position, leading 5-1 after the top of the fourth, but the Bulldogs exploded for six runs in the bottom of the inning.

After a two-run double by freshman Shelby Smith (Southwick, Mass.) got the Bulldogs within one, Butler stepped in for her only hit of the game, a three-run home run that gave Dean a 7-5 lead.

The Nighthawks responded and regained the lead in the top of the fifth with a three-run inning that included back-to-back RBI singles by Elliott and Gooden, giving Newbury an 8-7 lead.

But the bottom of the sixth would make all the difference in the second game of the doubleheader. The Bulldogs tied the game on an RBI groundout by senior Danielle Dumont. The next batter, McDonough, would provide the eventual game-winning RBI on a single to give Dean a 9-8 lead. Holden added insurance with an RBI double to lead 10-8.

The doubleheader split moves the Nighthawks to 4-15 (1-1 NECC) while the Bulldogs go to 5-15 (1-1 NECC). 

Both teams are back in action tomorrow with NECC play. The Nighthawks welcome Bay Path for two games, starting at noon. The Bulldogs travel to New England College for a doubleheader and 12:00 p.m. first pitch.