Pitching staff still hasn’t taken shape
NASHUA – The other night B.J. Neverett said that just as players on the Silver Knights are getting to know the manager and his staff, the same goes for Neverett in getting to know them.
Work in progress, especially for the pitchers.
The team resumes its FCBL season/grind on Tuesday at 11 a.m. (the annual Education Day game) after a rainout and a scheduled day off.
Jeremy Roberts (1-0) will start on the mound against Wachussett at Holman. Then it will be Drew Fischer on Wednesday in the second of the home-and-home vs. the Dirt Dawgs. Righty Mike Geannelis, who started the home opener but didn’t get the win, takes the hill on Thursday at Bristol.
After that? Pick ’em.
"We’re still setting our rotation, and especially we still don’t know who five and six are going to be," Neverett said.
In fact, he doesn’t even know if the Silver Knights will go with a six-man. Nashua’s Ricky Constant is the likely guy to go Friday at North Shore.
"He went a couple of innings (in relief) against Pittsfield and he pitched well," Neverett said. "He looked good."
Welcome, then to the opening two weeks of Nashua’s season, with the roster in a complete state of change because some players are still with their college teams and three high school players aren’t able to report yet because they haven’t finished school. Two of those, Sean Mooney and Gavin Hollowell, out of New Jersey, will pitch.
"We want to say to the players, ‘Who’s going to step up?’," Neverett said. "We got potentially two slots open (in the starting rotation). Who’s going to step up and take them?"
Neverett says there’s enough talent on the roster to fill any holes the team has.
"We want to develop the guys we have," he said.
The reinforcements are on their way. St. John’s catcher Anthony Fava has already arrived and Bryant University’s catcher Mickey Gasper (Merrimack) are expected here by Tuesday, as is relief pitcher Seth Pinkerton (University of Hartford). Thus the Knights will be adding another arm and also be set behind the plate, although temps Cam Ruziak and Collin Casey certainly helped out.
"We’re going to be in goo shape at that position," Neverett said.
Also, another area of depth concern – the outfield – gets a boost with the expected arrival on Tuesday of Amherst College’s Yani Thanapolous.
"There will be some lineup changes," said Neverett, who said the team may eventually be versatile enough where the lineup changes daily.
Neverett was seen before Friday’s Holman Stadium opener talking with team owner Drew Weber, who apparently is holding on to the club for now.
"He’s very interested in the team, and wanted to know how the team looked," Neverett said. "I told him I appreciated all he’s done for us the last six years.
"He said when Tim ( former team president Bawmann) and Jon (former team VP Goode) came to him with the idea (for the franchise) he was hesitant at first. But then he found he enjoyed watching the college players."
On Holman’s Opening Night, a helicopter delivered a special member of the team’s game night staff – 18-year-old Englishman James Shaw. Shaw, who for the summer will go by the stage name "Jimmy Football", ran in carrying a soccer ball to give team mascot Sir Sterling a hug.
He did play soccer for Manchester United, but lately baseball has been his game as he’s played for an adult league team in Oxford, England. He also attends Oxford-Brookes University. But fans will hear his English accent all summer as he is the new on-field MC. He emailed the team during the off-season and the idea appealed to general manager Ronnie Wallace.
Also, Shaw has ties to the area as his father, Robert, is a Bishop Guertin alum.
Center fielder Charlie McConnell (hand) got the medical thumbs up and is expected to be back in action by Wednesday at the latest. He should return to his leadoff spot. "He’s a big catalyst for us," Neverett said. In the first two games McConnell had two hits, two RBIs and scored two runs…
The Holman opener had three key ingredients, or as one team official said, "the trifecta" – good weather (clear skies by game time), great crowd (opening night record of 2,258) and a great game (walkoff Knights win). But how about North Shore on Saturday night? The Navigators drew a franchise record 3,523 fans at Lynn’s Fraser Field. Only tough thing for the Navs is they’ve started 0-3…
While it was drying up just after 12 p.m. when the team postponed Sunday’s home game with Bristol, it was the right call as heavy rain came in just prior to the scheduled start time of 5 p.m. The Silver Knights didn’t want the Blues to make the long bus ride for no reason. "I remember we went to Torrington (Conn.) one night and when we got there they called the game," Neverett said. "So we turned around and back we went. That was seven-and-a-half hours on the bus for nothing. Just a lot of movies."