Red hot Silver Knights sweep Rox to land in sixth

Staff photo by TOM KING Nashua's Cody Morissette slides safely into third as Brockton infielder Zack Gelof waits for the throw during the Silver Knights' 4-1 win in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader at Holman Stadium.

NASHUA – The Cherry was clearly on top on Sunday – and so were the Nashua Silver Knights.

Newcomer Justin Cherry, who pitched in a collegiate league in the Hamptons n Long Island for the first half of the summer, tossed a 4-1 complete-game gem for the Silver Knights to set the tone for a doubleheader sweep over the Brockton Rox before a Holman Stadium announced crowd of 1,620.

Nashua won the nightcap 9-4 behind an 11-hit attack, and are now turning things up a huge notch, not having lost since July 21. “We’re playing better,” Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett said, his team now 19-29 and a game up on North Shore (18-30) for the sixth and final playoff spot. Just over a week ago Nashua trailed the Navigators by 2 ½ games. “It’s possible,” he added, “we could even catch Pittsfield (one games ahead in fifth).”

In the first game, you can credit Knights outfielder Austin White with a save. When Neverett rescued White from the bench of a team in Vermont, his University of Rhode Island coach Raphael Cerrato asked Neverett if he could take one more player soon. That ended up being Cherry, who was done pitching for the Shelter Island Bucks.

“My other summer league got done so I asked my coach if I could play anywhere else,” said Cherry, a Virginia native. “I grew up going to Seabrook Beach in the summer so I was excited to come up here. It was the most groove I’d been in all summer.”

That groove was seven innings of four-hit, one run ball, striking out six and walking one in an efficient 69 pitches.

Hard to believe he was red-shirted by the Rams.

“(Cerrato) said he made a big mistake red shirting him,” Neverett said, “because going through the spring, watching him throw, they were going ‘We could be using him now’.

“He was very good, and we played really well behind him.”

Nashua scored four times in the fifth to get the win, the runs coming on a Ryan Berardino sac fly, RBI hits by newcomer Joe Bramanti and birthday boy Nick Biddison, and a Rox error.

Brockton took a 2-0 lead in the nightcap’s opening inning on a Matt Johnston two-run homer off Nashua starter Casey Candiotti, but that was their only lead of the entire day. Berardino doubled in a run in the first, the Knights got three in the second (Joe Caparis RBI hit, White RBI grounder, Rox error), and then broke it open with five in the fourth on six hits and two Rox miscues. White and Luke Tyree had key RBI singles.

The win in the nightcap was awarded to Nick Couhig (2-0) with an inning and a third of scoreless relief.

Bristol protest

What would a Futures League season be without yet another umpire/rule controversy?

Saturday night’s game vs. Bristol, originally in the books as a rain-shortened 2-1 Silver Knights win, may not be and it’s possible it could be continued on Wednesday when the Blues come back to Holman.

It was called in the bottom of the fifth with Nashua leading 2-1 after torrential rain, in the view of the umpires, left the field unplayable. The decision was rather quick, surprising Silver Knights Rick Muntean. But, according to Muntean, the umpires told him they didn’t want to risk injury to the players on the wet field.

The Bristol Blues protested to the FCBL. “I’ve been doing this 30 years and the way it works, as soon as the first pitch is thrown, it’s in the hands of the umpires,” Muntean said. “It was the right call. Lightning came 15 minutes later and more rain was not far away. We were winning, and I should have (urged the umps to call it), but I didn’t. I was surprised they did.”

So what’s the latest? Futures League commissioner Chris Hall will rule on it Monday, and its possible the teams may have to resume the game in the sixth on Wednesday, prior to the start of the regularly scheduled 7:05 p.m. game.

“I was concerned with what was coming after (the first storm),” Neverett said. “We looked at the radar and there was more coming. I had nothing to do with it, I just sat in the office and the umpires said we’re not going to play. The grass was still wet from (Friday’s rain) anyway. I don’t know how much water was on the infield after they put the tarp on. But it was pouring the whole fifth inning.

“I just don’t know sometimes. I’ve seen everything in the league. I’ve seen a fog out turn into a loss.”

Notes

While the Knights have added Cherry, second baseman Nate Cormier, and DH Joe Bramanti, they have lost to injury catcher Dylan Jones and starting pitcher Geoff Mosseau. Mosseau, who pitched the other night, said he “felt something in his elbow”, Neverett said. “It was a scare.” And enough that Mosseau, the recent Bedford High School alum headed to St. John’s as a freshman is shut down for the rest of the season…

Silver Knights slugger and FCBL Home Run Derby champ Jake Lebel didn’t play in either game Sunday. Neverett said he’s been bothered by a sore hamstring…

Nashua heads to Pittsfield today, but Neverett won’t make the trip due to services for his father, who passed away suddenly on Friday. Per usual, pitching coach Kyle Jackson will manage the club. Tuesday is an off-day and Neverett will return to the dugout on Wednesday.