Knights waste Hudon effort in 3-0 loss
By TOM KING
NASHUA – Tom Hudon deserved better.
The Nashua Silver Knights lefty from Merrimack seemed to have regained the form that made him one of the team’s best pitchers a year ago on Thursday night.
But Hudon’s defense (five errors overall) and the Knights’ bullpen let him down, even after his six strikeout performance over seven-plus innings, as Nashua fell 3-0 at the hands of the Seacoast Mavericks. The loss, before a Holman Stadium holiday eve fireworks crowd of 1,247, dropped the Knights to 11-12 on the season.
"It takes all three parts of the game," said Hudon (0-3), who may have rescued his season despite the loss, as he came in with an earned run average near 7.00. "We needed to hit, we needed to make plays, five errors is unacceptable in this league. I needed a start like that, but…"
But his team was checked on just four hits by the Seacoast pitching, with reliever James Vernon’s stellar 4.1 innings earning him the win.
Hudon was humming along, tossing seven innings of one-hit ball, even surviving three errors behind him. But he could survive the fourth – and third error of the night for second baseman Mike Pierson – in the top of the eighth
A stolen base and an advance on a bunt pop out put pinch runner Aiden O’Leary at third with one out – third base was left vacant as Joe Napolitano, Hudon and catcher Matt MacDowell all went after the ball – and spelled Hudon’s exit.
Enter newly signed reliever Will Simon, and the Jones Junior College reliever immediately gave up a two-run bomb over the left field billboards to the No. 9 hitter in the Mavs lineup, Chris Hess, on a 1-1 offering. It was Hess’ first homer of the summer.
"There were five base runners who never should have been on, and Tom Hudon should have thrown nine innings and 72 pitches," Knights manager Ted Currle said. "But we didn’t score. Tom pitched phenominal, and I’ll take the loss. I brought the wrong guy in."
Currle admitted he was thinking of bringing in lights out closer Travis Landry in a non-save situation but opted instead for Simon.
Simon then plunked Nashua resident Ryan Gendron, who later came around to score on Martin Taveras’ one-hop ground rule double over the brick wall in left for a 3-0 Seacoast lead.
"He’s a lot better than that," Currle said of Simon. "You’ll see a lot of him. But I shouldn’t have put him in that situation his first night here."
Ironically, the Knights turned three double plays on the night. But it didn’t make a difference, although Hudon’s start – one walk – may for his confidence.
"My velocity felt great, I like pitching on these hot humid days," he said. "Oh I needed that. Some people don’t believe in momentum, but I’m all for it."
He can only hope his teammates can grab some as well.
Local Al St. Louis performed his 500th National Anthem in the last three years before the game…
The field was in great shape at Holman on Thursday, as the city allowed the Silver Knights to tarp the infield, as opposed to Wednesday’s rainout, when the field was fertilized and no tarp could be used…
Don’t be surprised if Friday’s Knights game at Pittsfield, Mass. has a chance to be played as scheduled as the storm effects may not reach that far west, according to some forecasters. It will be righty Mike Geannelis (2-1, 3.50) taking the mound at Wahconah Park…
Currle won’t have to worry about the end of the season interfering with his getting his football team ready at Norton (Mass.) High School. He recently resigned the head coaching position to focus more on his athletic director duties.