NECBL Reveals 2017 End-Of-Year Awards
Date: Aug 17, 2017
By: Ben Rivera
Holyoke, MA – In the 6th inning, the Valley Blue Sox (6-3) scored six runs to propel them to a 10-8 victory, over the Newport Gulls (3-6) on Sunday night.
The Sox are on a six-game win streak, where their offense has been riding high. During the streak, they were unable to reach double digit hits only once. Tonight, they collected 12 hits, that included two home runs.
With the Blue Sox down by a run in the bottom of the 6th inning, first basemen Chas Hadden (Belmont University) launched a bases clearing triple just shy of the center field wall. “He’s the guy you want up with the bases loaded,” said manager John Raiola. “He’s going to swing at strikes and put the ball in play.”
Immediately after Hadden’s triple, third basemen Andrew Rouse (Marist College) added two insurance runs when he smacked the second homer of the game out of Mackenzie Stadium.
Rouse and Hadden have been the best hitters in the Valley to this point in the season. Rouse has a batting average of .444. He has 12 hits and scored 9 runs in just 6 games played. Hadden seems to always be on base. He is hitting .333, and has been walked 14 times.
Niko Hulsizer (Morehead St.) went 3/4 on the night and was intentionally walked. He got the Blue Sox on the board when he crushed a solo homer right out of the ballpark into Beech Street. This was his first homer in the Sox uniform, he was getting a bit anxious. Hulsizer led the nation with 27 home runs in his sophomore campaign with the Eagles.
“Having that off time from school ball to coming here hurt a little bit,” said Hulsizer. “I’m back on my horse though.”
Raoila was confident that Hulsizer would find his rhythm again in no time. “He’s going to be a huge part for us moving forward, if he’s going and everyone does their part, it’s going to be a good offensive summer.”
Reliever Tyler Smith (Canisus College) has been the go to arm whenever the Blue Sox need to get out of a sticky situation. He struck out 4 of the 6 batters he faced to earn himself his second save of the season. Smith has appeared in five games and has yet to allow a hit. He leads his team in strikeouts, with 14.
The Blue Sox will head to Vermont Monday night to start a stretch of 2 away games. They will be back at Mackenzie Stadium on Thursday when they take on the Upper Valley Nighthawks (8-2). The first 250 fans in attendance will be given a free seat cushion courtesy of the Basketball Hall of Fame and Holyoke Gas & Electric Night.