Silver Knights clinching party has to wait after 7-1 loss
NASHUA – Opportunity knocked, but no one was home in the Nashua Silver Knights dugout.
The team had a chance to basically clinch a playoff spot on Thursday night, as a win over Worcester would have put them up four games over idle North Shore for the final Futures Collegiate League playoff spot.
But lack of timely hitting and shoddy defense led to a 7-1 win for the Worcester Bravehearts, disappointing an announced crowd of 2,455. The game was delayed 30 minutes by a pre-game shower, and the Silver Knights’ seven game winning streak was snapped.
Nashua (20-30) was hoping to remain a half game up in fifth on sixth place Pittsfield, whom they play three times in the next two days, beginning tonight at Wahconah Park. The Suns, 19-28 before last night, were losing 11-5 to Bristol in the eighth late.
“They can hit,” Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett, who was looking for one more win to clinch the playoff berth, said of the Bravehearts. “That’s the way it is sometimes.”
Nashua simply has to wait, after 32-19 Worcester banged out 14 hits off Nashua pitching and took advantage of four Silver Knight errors.
“I just told them to forget about it, and we’ll get them (tonight),” Neverett said.
They got to Justin Snyder (1-1) for four runs in the fourth. With two on and runners at second and third, Nashua first baseman Joe Bramanti knocked down a ball that second baseman Nick Biddison possibly would have gotten to for the third out. Everyone was safe and a run was in.
Eddie Haus and Michael Dellicari followed with RBI hits and an error late it was 4-0. Worcester got two more in the seventh and one in the eighth.
Nashua, which left nine men on, got its lone run on a Luke Tyree sac fly in the fourth. Worcester reliever Kendall Pomeroy (2-1) picked up the win with two innings of relief.
But the Knights, down 4-1, had runners at first and third with none out in the bottom of the fifth. However, two strikeouts and a pop up later, the threat was done.
“I thought we lost the game in the bottom of the fifth,” Neverett said. “First at third and nobody out and three bad at bats in a row. Three really bad at bats. That’s where the game turned for us.”
The Knights, who always seem to take things down to the wire, just want to get the job over with.
“The earlier we can get in,” Neverett said, “then we’re going to start setting everything (pitching) up.”
What happened to first baseman Alex Brickman, whom the Silver Knights signed in late June to add some pop to the lineup after he had a great 2017 summer at North Shore? About two weeks ago, Brickman decided to end his season. He had gotten his average up after a slow start to .256 but had just one homer and five RBIs.
“He just decided to shut it down for the summer,” Neverett said. “I don’t think he felt good about how he was playing. I don’t know. There was one game I didn’t start him, and that’s when he texted me after and said he was going to shut it down.”
Slugger Jake Lebel still wasn’t in the starting lineup on Thursday night, although he pinch hit in the ninth and fanned. A sore hamstring had kept him out but Neverett said before the game he didn’t want Lebel hitting vs. Worcester. Why? Because he knew the Bravehearts wouldn’t pitch to him.
“That’s more about who we’re playing,” he said. “When we played these guys, he’s had no opportunity to even hit. I’d rather play the guys who make more contact (vs. Worcester).”
Neverett likened Lebel to former Brewers slugger Gorman Thomas from the 1980s, a 40-homer, 200 strikeout type. “He would get back in the lineup (tonight at Pittsfield).”
Neverett has Luke Dawson (5-1, 3.85) starting tonight at Pittsfield, as the game still has meaning. The Seacoast Mavericks, on hiatus, called Neverett in the off-season looking to place Dawson and Neverett was more than happy to take him. “I snapped him right up,” Neverett said. “We had memories of him pitching well vs. us. He’s a great kid, he’s mentally tough, and not afraid to go out there and get at it. We think we have a few guys like him, but we wish we had more.”….
The team had a good presale for Thursday, over 1,500, but the rain kept many away.