by Terry Bos
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan – The Night Hawks played a pre-tournament double header versus Sault Michigan on Tuesday July 12th. The scheduled Sault Michigan tournament for the weekend of July 16th and 17th was cancelled and replaced by a pair of double headers versus the two Sault Michigan Junior Legion teams. The Night Hawks have been getting help and tips from former MLB players and College coaches all season long, and it showed in their 5 and 1 record this week.
In the opener on Tuesday July 12th Braedon Whalen was brilliant on the mound pitching a complete game no hit shutout. In pitching the complete game no hitter Whalen also picked up 10 strikeouts. The defense in the game was also outstanding committing no errors behind their starting pitchers no hit effort. Offensively the team was led by Brennan Mitchell and Zach Duchesne who scored three times each and Braedon Whalen who drove in 2 runs. Picking up hits in the 9 to 0 victory were Brennan Mitchell, Braedon Whalen, Zach Duchesne, Joe Maclean, and Stephen Bos. The Night Hawks would jump out to a quick 1 nothing first inning lead on a lead off single and stolen base by Brennan Mitchell who was then driven home by Braedon Whalen. The Night Hawks then tacked on 5 more in the second inning on a single by Stephen Bos, walk by Noah O’Brien, single by Brennan Mitchell, single by Braedon Whalen, and a walk by Zach Duchesne, who would then steal second and score on an error to cap the inning. The Night Hawks would add a single run in the 4th and 2 more in the 5th for the final 9 to 0 score.
In the second game on Tuesday the Night Hawks would fall behind early 4 to 0 after 1 inning, before battling their way back to a 10 to 5 victory with 2 in the second, 2 more in the 3rd, 3 in the 4th, 2 in the 5th and 1 more in the 6th. Joe Maclean got the Night Hawks going in the second inning with a 315 foot bomb beyond the fence in right centre field, Joe’s homer followed a double by Cole Wright to cut the deficit to 4 to 2, it was Joe’s first home run of the season. Cole Wright would later double in another run in the 4th and score. Offensively Cole Wright scored 3 times and Joe Maclean drove in 2 runs. Picking up hits in the 10 to 5 victory were Brennan Mitchell, Zach Duchesne, Dylan Sewell, Cole Wright, and Joe Maclean. Jarrid Smith got the start and picked up the victory with Cole Wright coming on to pick up a three inning save.
The Night Hawks do not play in a house league, so none of the victories are from house league games, all games are against true travel based teams. The Night Hawks don’t base success on the season record, wins and losses don’t even cross the minds of the coaches, development of the players is the number 1 priority.
In the opener on Saturday the Night Hawks jumped out to a quick 8 to 0 lead after 2 innings, courtesy of a bat around 2nd inning. Cole Wright led off with a double, which was followed by 4 straight walks, before Zach Duchesne smoked a bases clearing triple, before he to would come around to score later in the inning along with Braedon Whalen. The Night Hawks would then hang on for a nail biting 11 to 10 victory.
Offensively the Night Hawks were led by Zach Duchesne with 4 RBI, and Tyler Sayers and Noah Pearce who scored twice each. Picking up hits in the win were Tyler Sayers, Zach Duchesne, Braedon Whalen, Brandon Boyer, Joe Maclean, Cole Wright, Stephen Bos, and Noah Belec as the Night Hawks picked up 13 hits in the game. Zach Duchesne started the game for the Night Hawks and picked up the win, picking up 8 strike outs. Braedon Whalen came on to preserve the victory picking up the save with a pair of strikeouts.
Game 2 on Saturday saw a hard fought back and forth battle that the Soo Senior Sluggers from Sault Michigan were able to pull out the victory 6 to 5 courtesy of their last at bats. The Night Hawks made a valiant effort to come back with 2 in the 6 to tie the game, only to fall in walk off fashion. Noah Pearce got the start and was strong through 5 innings picking up 4 strike outs. Offensively Joe Maclean led the way with a 3 for 3 afternoon also scoring a run and driving in two. Also picking up hits in the defeat were Tyler Sayers, Brandon Boyer, and Noah Pearce.
Head Coach Steve Hurley noted; “The Night Hawks have played a strong schedule so far this year, playing in tournaments where we are the youngest team. The team has had no problems fielding a team at all. No need to call up from younger age groups to field a team. The kids on the team are committed and want to play and develop. There have been parents and kids asking about the Night Hawks program as they want to play for the Night Hawks in the future. There is even interest from a couple of parents in starting up this program for the younger kids.
On Sunday July 17th the Night Hawks visited James Field in Sault Michigan to take on the Soo Senior Sluggers in another double header, despite being short staffed and a number of injuries to those playing, the Nights Hawks pulled out a couple of gritty hard fought victories, winning 5 to 4 in the opener and 14 to 10 in game 2. The team showed their heart, determination, and team chemistry to come together and pick up these two victories.
In the opener on Sunday Joe Maclean got the start and picked up the victory going 4 innings and picking up 4 strike outs. Cole Wright would finish the game picking up his second save of the season with 2 innings pitched striking out 4 batters. Offensively the team was led by Joe Maclean with 2 runs scored, and Brandon Boyer and Jarrid Smith who drove in two runs a piece. Picking up hits in the victory were Tyler Sayers, Zach Duchesne, Brand Boyer, Joe Maclean, Noah Pearce, and Jarrid Smith.
In game 2 on Sunday the Night Hawks would come out swinging putting up a 6 spot in the top of the first inning, they would then tack on another run in the 2nd and 3rd, before putting up 3 in the 4th and 6th to complete the 14 to 10 victory. Braedon Whalen would get the start and pick up the win for the Night Hawks and would strike out 4 batters over 3 innings. Offensively the Night Hawks had some big hits with Braedon Whalen and Cole Wright each tripling, and Zach Duchesne picking up a double. Braedon Whalen would lead the offence with 4 runs batted in, while Zach Duchesne would score 3 times. Tyler Sayers and Braedon Whalen would each pick up three hits in the game. Also picking up hits were Zach Duchesne, Brandon Boyer, Cole Wright, Noah Pearce, Jarrid Smith, Noah Belec, and Noah O’Brien.
Head Coach Steve Hurley noted “This is the best team that I have coached since the 2009 team. We are deep at every position, and our offense has been hitting the ball all year. These kids have a never give up attitude. Being down late in the ball game never fazes these young players. The older kids on the team have really helped out and are very supportive of the younger kids, no negativity towards the kids, and the team is one unit. It’s great to see a group of kids working as one unit. This year has been really fun with an awesome group of kids to coach along with a great coaching staff to work with.”
The first year Night Hawks, with a rookie laden line up, season record now stands at 18 and 14. This very talented group of players that Head Coach Steve Hurley and his coaching staff put together has jelled very quickly to come together as a complete cohesive team unit with everyone on the same page and playing as one group.