The Stars came out for Holman and the Silver Knights
NASHUA – Some Nashua Silver Knights certainly knew how to shine on a starry night.
Slugger Jake Lebel won the pre-game Futures Collegiate League All-Star Home Run Derby. He also had a homer and sacrifice fly in Team Dodgers 6-2 win over Team Nashua on Wednesday before an announced Holman Stadium crowd of 2,825.
Reliever Drew Farkas struck out the side for Team Nashua in the eighth. Jeff Costello made a couple of solid catches in left field and had a hit, while shortstop Cody Morissette caught a liner and also had a hit.
And hey, Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett is 2-0 as an All-Star manager, having been the winning skipper in the inaugural FCBL All-Star game six years ago.
“A great night,” Neverett said. “The guys did a real good job. I was happy for Drew, Pitcher of the Night. Jake hit a long ball, and won the Home Run Derby. It was a good night for the Knights.”
Fitting, as the city was celebrating the 80th birthday of Holman Stadium, perhaps the night’s biggest star.
“It was a lot of fun, a great crowd, the kids were great, the weather was perfect, just a really good day,” Neverett said.
While Farkas was the night’s top pitcher, the win went to Bristol’s Neal McDermott with a scoreless inning. Brockton’s Matt Johnston was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, as he had two hits, including a solo homer and RBI double for two runs batted in.
He gave Team Nashua a 1-0 lead off Team Dodgers starter Bryan Ketchie of Martha’s Vineyard in the first inning.
His RBI double, thanks to Team Dodgers right fielder Michael Delicarri losing the ball in the light of the sky, gave Team Nashua a 2-1 lead.
But Lebel amazingly followed up his Derby win with a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth, tying the game for Team Dodgers.
“I got a hanging slider,” Lebel said. “It was fun. It was left up, I just put a pretty good swing on it, I knew it was out right away. I’m exhausted but this was a lot of fun tonight.
A three-run fifth off Worcester’s Henry Ennen gave the Dodgers the win. Delicarri and Worcester teammate Ed House had RBI singles while Lebel had a sac fly. Delicarri later had an RBI groundout.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Lebel said. “People cheering for all of us. I was happy I was here.”
“It was really, really good for our kids,” Neverett said. “I know the guys who represented our team were All-Stars. They really belonged here.”
Lebel came through in the clutch to become the FCBL’s Home Run Derby champion. Pretty fitting for the Nashua Silver Knights best power hitter to do it.
Lebel topped Worcester’s Michael Dellicarri, 6-5, in the finals.
The other finalist, Worcester’s Dakota McFadden, had two homers in the finals. All three advanced with six in the first round.
Lebel was the final contestant in the last round, and had about a minute to go needing one to tie and one to win. Pitching to him was Jay Mendez, his manager at Seacoast last year, who is now guiding the first place Martha’s Vineyard Sharks and skippered Team Nashua in Wednesday’s game.
“I knew I was going to get a pretty good pitch from Jay,” Lebel said. “I just had to put a pretty good swing on it. He found a groove at the end, and he put me in a good groove.”
This was Lebel’s first home run derby. “I was in the All-Star a couple a of years ago but I didn’t compete in the derby. I’m exhausted. But it’s an absolute blast.”