HOT SPRINGS, Ar. — A change in scenery has National Park College’s baseball team playing a little different in 2022. The Nighthawks led the nation (NJCAA) in home runs last season, but only hit two in Monday’s doubleheader at the Babe Ruth Field in Majestic Park with Henderson State University’s junior varsity.
NPC (5-6) swept the twinbill, 11-4 and 10-5. Freshman Cade McBride and Jesus Minjarez hit the Nighthawks’ homers. If the doubleheader had been played at Hot Springs High School, like all of NPC’s home games in 2021, you arguably couldn’t count the home runs on two hands.
Freshman pitcher beats Henderson JV
“If we had played at the high school the score would have been completely different,” said NPC coach Rich Thompson. “Demias (Jimmerson) would have had homers his first two times up in the second game, and Henderson’s right fielder (Peyton Gorman) hit one that would have been way out.
“We’re not firing on all cylinders quite yet. I still saw a lot of good things today. A lot of guys are getting their feet undernearth them on the mound. It’s still cold and some players are just now working back to where they were last fall. I saw some good numbers from our pitchers. Offensively our guys are putting the bat on the ball and that’s always a good thing.”
Freshman Payton Windham pitched a 7-inning gem for NPC in the opener. He scattered five hits and struck out 12.
Reddies never led in opener
The two roundtrippers previously mentioned staked NPC to an early 5-0 lead. Singles by Nick Hagerty and Braden Carpenter contributed to the Reddies’ 4-run uprising in the fourth. Hagerty led HSU with two singles, while Braden Doherty and Landon Ervin contributed singles.
Minjarez, Panama Mendez, Evan Shoffit and Daeton Bassett had two hits each for the Nighthawks.
Pitching ran hot and cold in the nightcap. National Park’s six hurlers combined to walk nine and strike out 14. They allowed seven hits.
Henderson led 1-0 after the first two innings. All of the Nighthawks’ scoring came in two innings, with four in the third and six in the seventh.
Shoffit, Noah Arellano and Mendez had two hits each for the Hot Springs team. Hagerty and Gorman led the Reddies with a double and single each. Drake Browning of Texarkana, Ar., singled and walked twice, and Josh Sawsbury doubled.
The Nighthawks host second-ranked Kellogg Community College Thursday at Majestic Park.