Knights upend Navs

LYNN, Mass. – The urban confines of Fraser Field always seem to suit Nashua diamond teams well in the post season.

The Nashua Pride won a championship here. The Nashua Silver Knights, five years later, won the opening game of the Futures League finals here en route to their second title.

And now you can add Wednesday night’s Silver Knights 5-2 FCBL quarterfinal upset of the fourth-seeded North Shore Navigators. Fifth-seeded Nashua (29-28) overall now moves on to face the second-seeded Bristol Blues in Bristol, Conn., Thursday at 7 in a one-game semifinal.

Nashua will send either Ryan Moloney or Mike Geannelis to the mound to face a team they have won three of four against, going 1-1 in Bristol.

The Silver Knights (12 hits) did it by getting on top early of Navigators ace Steve Xinirachs, a UMass-Lowell sophomore who came into the game with a 7-1, 1.93 mark. They also did it with six shutout innings from lefty Tom Hudon, who joined the team just a month ago.

"We had a great night at the plate against a really good pitcher," Nashua manager Ted Currle said. "We took care of business early. But the story of the game was Tom Hudon. He was phenomenal."

It was all Nashua from the start. Manny Cruz led off with a basehit, and one out later Erik Ostberg singled him to third and he scored on Tyler Schwanz’s base hit through the infield.

In the third inning, Nashua struck twice, with Cruz’s speed helping. With one out, the fastest Silver Knight scored from first on a Max Burt double to make it 2-0. Nashua made it 3-0 after an Ostberg RBI single.

The Knights made it a 4-0 game in the fifth as Ostberg singled with one out and scored on Ryan Sullivan’s double.

Meanwhile, Hudon was dealing through his six inning shutout stint, allowing just four hits, walking one with two strikeouts.

"Everything was on," he said. "My curve ball was really setting up my other pitches. We shut down their running game, Matty (catcher Fortin) had a great plan."

North Shore rallied in the eighth with two runs on RBI singles by Chad Martin and Kyle Brown off reliever Lucas Olen.

Enter Brandon Walsh, after giving up a hit to load the bases, induced the Navs’ Michael Rizzitello to swing at the first pitch and ground into a rally-killing 1-2-3 double play.

"He’s a bulldog," Currle said. "He gets a broken bat double play, just great."

The Knights added a run on a throwing error and a wild pitch in the ninth to give them a 5-2 cushion.