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Nashua 20/20 Emerging: Tim Bawmann, seized the opportunity to bring baseball back to Nashua

When the American Defenders left Holman Stadium in 2009, leaving the historic baseball park vacant, Tim Bawmann saw an opportunity and seized it.

Bawmann, general manager of the minor league Lowell Spinners, saw his chance to put a stamp on a franchise. Tickets to Red Sox-affiliated Spinners games practically sold themselves, but bringing a successful team to Nashua, where many before had not succeeded, would be a challenge.

“As soon as (the American Defenders) left, I thought this is a great market, a great facility,” Bawmann said in 2011. “There’s an opportunity here for somebody, hopefully us, to come in and do something. That kind of got the wheels in motion.”

Three seasons into the venture, Bawmann has made real progress with the Silver Knights, the collegiate, wooden-bat team that now calls Holman Stadium home. The team, part of the Futures Collegiate League franchise, is owned and operated by the Spinners. Bawmann serves as GM of both teams.

Attendance and corporate sponsorships continue to grow. And the Silver Knights turned their first profit – albeit a small one – this year. That’s something none of the franchise-type teams that occupied Holman before, including the Nashua Pride, Hawks or Pirates/Angels, were ever able to do.

Tim Bawmann’s first visit to Holman Stadium was purely an accident.

Nine years ago, shortly after taking the job as general manager of the Lowell Spinners and settling with his family 15 minutes north in Nashua, he caught a glimpse of the facility while driving by and had to peek inside.

“What the heck is that?” Bawmann recalled saying.

Bawmann initially thought the Nashua Pride might be Spinners competition, particularly because of the quality of the stadium, but soon realized that wasn’t the case. Still, he continued to watch the team from afar as it struggled, was sold, became the American Defenders and eventually left the city.

Under Bawmann’s leadership, corporate sales for Silver Knights tickets have doubled and group sales have increased.

Attendance grew to an average of 1,370 fans per game in the 2013 season – up from an average of 900 tickets sold per game the first year. To boot, the team won its league championships in 2011 and 2012.

Losses of $250,000 and $50,000 in 2011 and 2012, respectively, were turned into small profits in 2013.

Things are not perfect yet, though. Bawmann wants to continue increasing attendance, corporate sales and group sales. And if the seats don’t fill up, he doesn’t blame anyone but the team.

“If they’re not in the seats, it’s because we didn’t do something right,” he said.