Nashua wins on road in Game 1 of FCBL finals against North Shore
LYNN, Mass. – One down, one to go for title No. 2. Oh, and two chances to do it at Holman Stadium.
The Nashua Silver Knights will take that formula any day, as they topped North Shore 3-1 on Tuesday night before 453 fans at Fraser Field. The Knights now lead the best-of-three Futures Collegiate Baseball League championship series 1-0 with Games 2 and 3 at 7:05 p.m. at home Wednesday and, if necessary, Thursday.
“I’m just tickled for them,” Nashua manager B.J. Neverett said. “Let’s do it at home. We have to win one more game, we have two chances to do it. I like that opportunity.”
Nashua got a strong pitching performance from Alek Morency, who despite loading the bases with none out in the first allowed zero runs on seven hits over six innings, striking out four while hitting and walking one each.
“It was really tough,” Morency said. “They were taking pitches all over the place. I just had to bear down and get out of it. It feels great.”
You had a feeling it might be the Silver Knights night when Morency pitched out of that jam in the first. North Shore manager Richie Hebner, who named lefty Josh Desai (2-2, 3.27) to oppose Nashua’s Lamarre Rey (4-1, 1.60) for Game 2, did too.
“The first inning was the game,” he said, his team outhit just 10-9. “It’s not going to be easy (to win two on the road), but we’ll be all right.”
Two singles and a walk juiced ‘em up, but Morency got Jake McGuiggan on a foul pop behind the plate, caught Tony Serino looking and retired Pat Parker on a lazy fly to right.
The Silver Knights took advantage immediately when Connor Lyons led off the second with a single off North Shore starter Bobby Dean, stole second and scored on Steve Rogers’ RBI single to make it 1-0.
Nashua tacked on another run for a 2-0 lead in the third when James Katsiroubas was plunked, advanced to second on a passed ball, and scored on a ground ball single just off the glove of Navs second baseman Aaron Silbar. That was the good news, the bad news being they had the bases loaded in the same frame with one out and couldn’t add to the lead.
They did in the sixth, however, with a single run thanks to a balk by North Shore reliever Adrian Benitez. He pluned Nashua’s John Putress, who made it around to third on a wild pitch and ground out and then scored on the mistake to make it 3-0 Silver Knights.
But Benitez did what several relievers have done in this brief post season – quiet the Silver Knights attack. Unfortunately, his team, despite getting nine hits, was able to only get one run across. That came in the eighth off Knights reliever John Coughlin, who allowed a pair of hits in the inning as North Shore’s Tim Hendricks crossed the plate on Tony Serino’s RBI ground out.
But when Knights reliever Matt Olsen fanned Navs Aaron Silbar with a man on in the ninth, coming back from a 3-0 count, Nashua was leaving Lynn with a 1-0 series lead.
“That was phenomenal,” Neverett said.
That’s the way the season has been, too.