Silver Knights can’t get that last big hit as season ends in Brockton

Staff photo by TOM KING Nashua's Cody Morissette reacts after the Silver Knights fall 6-5 to Brockton in the first round of the FCBL playoffs Monday night.

BROCKTON, Mass. – One hit away.

That seemed to be the theme of the Nashua Silver Knights season, one that came to an end in a bitter 6-5 loss at the hands of the Brockton Rox Monday night in the single elimination first round of the FCBL playoffs at Campanelli Stadium.

“One hit way, one hit away, one hit away,” said Nashua manager B.J. Neverett, who was ejected arguing a crucial runner’s interference call in the ninth inning. “All season that’s the way it’s been.”

The fourth seeded Rox will travel to face top ranked Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday in Game 1 of the FCBL semis. Bristol, a 4-0 winner over Pittsfield in Mondayh’s other playoff, goes to Worcester.

But for the Knights, Monday night’s game was an uphill fight all the way, as was much of the 21-33 season. Down 6-1 Nashua climbed to within 6-5 and appeared ready to at least tie the game in the ninth when Luke Tyree walked and went all the way to third on a throwing error with none out.

But Teddy Beaudet struck out against Brockton reliever Nolan Collins, but as the ball got away, he appeared safe at first base. However, the umpires reversed the initial safe call, calling interference on Beaudet running down the line and obstructing the line of Rox catcher Jack Arend’s throw.

“Makeup call,” Neverett said. “I don’t care what they do. It was a made up call. You’ve got a runner on third and no outs, and you’re going to call that on a strikeout, the kid’s (Beaudet) running down the line. You’re going to call that in that game? I’m sorry. I just couldn’t hold it back any longer.”

The wild ninth continued when Tyree got a late break off third on a chopper off the bat of Austin White to Rox shortstop Charlie Maxwell, who threw to Arend for the easy out at home.

“It was a tough game,” Tyree said. “The guys played hard, definitely. I just thought (White’s) grounder wasn’t hit hard enough, and I went.”

“I gave him the option, read it, and see where it takes you,” said Knights pitching coach Kyle Jackson, who took over for Neverette coaching third. “I have no problem being aggressive in that situation. It’s a pressure situation that you’re putting on the defense for a good throw. And in this league, pressure can get to you.”

Cody Morissette then tapped to second and the game and the season was over.

Trailing 6-1, Nashua erupted for four runs on a Ryan Berardino RBI double and a Joe Bramanti three-run homer off Rox starter Chris McGrory. Bramanti’s blast into the bullpen in left on a 2-0 offering made it 6-5.

The Rox thought they had broken the game open in the fifth as they knocked out Nashua starter and FCBL Pitcher of the Year Brandon Dufault with four runs on three hits, a walk and an error. The key blows were a two-run single by Zach Gelof (drafted by the Indians in 38th round earlier this year) off Dufault, Jack Kelly’s RBI single off Cam Cruz, and a costly Cruz throwing error on a pickoff attempt at first.

“I think it’s a big game, for him he’s had a great season,” Jackson said of Dufault, who went 4.2 innings, walking three but striking out just one. “He might not have had his best stuff, but he went out there and gave it everything he had and left it on the field.”

Windham’s Dufault gave up two Rox runs in the second on a Jack Arend RBI single and fielder’s choice. The Knights responded by cutting the 2-0 deficit in half in the third on a Luke Tryee single and a throwing error off an Austin White grounder.

But he wasn’t able to score that tying run, when a base hit would have brought him home. Nashua was outhit 9-8, and suffered its 15th one-run loss.

“That summarized the entire season,” Neverett said.

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The Silver Knights finished second in the league in average paid attendance with a franchise best ever 1,525. Nashua had just 23 home dates, second lowest in the league (Bristol had 22). To no one’s surprise, Worcester, which drew 67,553 in 27 dates, averaged by far the FCBL best 2,502. Nashua nosed out third spot Pittsfield (1,519).

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Mason Pelio, who struggled mightily for most of the year as a starter, pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit, in the regular season finale Sunday at North Shore. “He was fabulous,” Neverett said. “What might have been.”

The Knights infield definitely had a different look with Joe Bramanti starting at third and Justin Cherry at second. Cherry played second in the doubleheader vs. Pittsfield this past Saturday…