Nighthawks split NJCAA opener

EL DORADO — The National Park College (NPC) Nighthawk baseball team (7-11) split its NJCAA Region II opener against South Arkansas Community College on March 11, earning a 14-3 win in the opener and dropping a 7-6 decision in the finale.

NPC scored early and often in game one, building an insurmountable lead over the Stars. Sophomore center fielder Josh Beezley (Sydney, Australia) started the scoring in the first inning, driving in two runs on a two-out single. NPC padded the lead with five runs in the second inning and six runs in the third inning while adding a final insurance run in the fifth inning. South Arkansas Community College mustered runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but could not cut the deficit to single digits, resulting in the run-ruled win for NPC. 

Sophomore pitcher Myles Anderson (Houston, Texas) surrendered three runs on five hits with two strikeouts over five innings in the complete game win. Beezley and sophomores Cameron Tyson (Cullen, Louisiana), D’Angelo Hinojosa (Houston, Texas) and Eli Hutcherson (Cabot) recorded two hits apiece to lead NPC in hitting. 

Game two came down to the final play, with the Stars exacting revenge over the Nighthawks on a three-run walk-off home run to split the series. 

NPC got on the board in the first inning on a solo home run from sophomore left fielder Evan Shoffit (Fayetteville) to take the lead. Trailing, 2-1, entering the fourth inning, NPC tied the game, 2-2, on a solo home run from sophomore catcher Jesus Minjarez (Chihuahua, Mexico). The Nighthawks gained the lead with a run across in the fifth inning, followed by a two-run sixth inning. Tyson blasted his team-leading fourth home run of the season in the top of the seventh inning to double up the Stars, 6-3, but South Arkansas Community College rallied late to claim victory. 

Hutcherson got the start for NPC, allowing four runs on nine hits over seven and one-third innings. Sophomore reliever Jeb Brown (Rogers) threw two-thirds of an inning out of the bullpen, allowing the game-winning home run in the loss. Hinojosa and freshman shortstop Bryson Sellier (Houston, Texas) racked up three hits apiece to lead NPC in hitting. 

NPC continues NJCAA Region II play this weekend at Redlands Community College. The Nighthawks face the Cougars in a doubleheader Saturday, March 18, beginning at 2 p.m. followed by a doubleheader Sunday, March 19, beginning at noon.

For more information on schedules, rosters and more, visit Nighthawks baseball online. Fans can also follow the Nighthawks all season on social media.