Believe it or not, the Silver Knights set to begin 2018 season

Staff file photo by TOM KING Don't expect to see many of these faces, most of whom aren't eligible anyway, back in a Silver Knights uniform this summer.

NASHUA – Believe it or not, it’s here already.

To many it may seem like just yesterday when the Nashua Silver Knights celebrated their fourth Futures Collegiate League championshp at Holman Stadium, back in mid-August.

But now, everyone in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, a league that is minus two franchises (Seacoast, Wachusett) from a year ago, begins its 2018 season on Wednesday night and the Silver Knights will face two-time finals foe Worcester at Hanover Insurance Park on the campus of Holy Cross College at 6:30 p.m.

“It was awesome,” said Silver Knights outfielder Luke Tyree with regard to last year’s celebration. “Especially with all the people here.”

Tyree will be one of the mainstays of this team, which is expected to run a lot more than last year’s older, power-heavy team.

“I’m defintely going to try to use my speed more than last year, especially with stealing,” Tyree said.

It’s going to be a lineup by default in many ways the first week of the season, as the Knights have as many as a dozen players tied up with NCAA tournaments and high school tournaments/graduations.

Thus a player like Tyree, who will be a senior at Marymount, is valuable here at the start.

“He really had a good summer last year,” Neverett said. “He’ll be really comfortable right off the bat. We’ll see how it all works out. We have 11 position players (three of them catchers) for the week. We’re just going to roll it out there.”

Neverett and pitching coach Kyle Jackson’s plan is to have five or six pitchers throw in Wednesday’s opener. “Just get them out there, keep it short, and get their feet wet,” Neverett said.

Who may be in Wednesday’s lineup? Tyree should be in center, with Franlin Pierce’s Dylan Jones in left and possibly new signee J.D. Funk in right.

In the infield, Tom Joyce and Ryan Berardino will be the first base/designated hitter combo. University of Houston redshirt Tyler Littlefield will likely start at short with Assumption’s (and Brentwood’s) Jared Brecia possibly at second. Third base was wide open and Neverett has three catchers to choose from, with likely Kyle Maurice to start.

“Just let these guys play and see what happens,” Neverett said.

Neverett has resisted the temptation to look at opposing clubs’ rosters, as many have yet to be settled or finalized with players just reporting leaguewide on Memorial Day, minus those (like Nashua) competing for their college teams’ in the postseason. This year, with just seven teams and the same playoff format, the league will be playing a 56 game schedule to eliminate one team prior to the start of the playoffs in early August.

“I haven’t really seen any (rosters),” Neverett said. “Worcester had 42 guys on the roster (limit is 30), so I don’t really know what they’ll look like. I have no idea.”

After Wednesday, the Silver Knights will be at Brockton Thursday night before they return home for Friday night’s Holman Stadium opener vs. North Shore at 6:45 p.m. with the 2017 Championsip Ring Ceremony before the game.