Saturday, November 22, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;30.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/skc.png;2014-11-22 10:19:31
Friday, June 6, 2014

Nashua Silver Knights ready for Holman Stadium season opener

NASHUA – During the long, harsh winter, it seemed like it would never arrive. Even a week ago, when a chill in the air returned, it seemed distant.

But, it’s here. The Nashua Silver Knights are open for business and will take the Holman Stadium turf on Friday night at 7:05 for the first time since losing Game 1 of the 2013 Futures Collegiate Baseball League Finals. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA – During the long, harsh winter, it seemed like it would never arrive. Even a week ago, when a chill in the air returned, it seemed distant.

But, it’s here. The Nashua Silver Knights are open for business and will take the Holman Stadium turf on Friday night at 7:05 for the first time since losing Game 1 of the 2013 Futures Collegiate Baseball League Finals.

For the first time since their first game three years ago, the Silver Knights will not hold a championship ring presentation ceremony. The team responsible for that, the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, will be across the way, in the visitor’s dugout.

“That’s what we’ve been thinking about,” Knights general manager Ronnie Wallace said. “The last two years we’ve had an awesome ring ceremony here. Unfortunately, we’re not able to do that this year, so we’re going to celebrate some other champions.”

Indeed, there will still be championship trophies in the ballpark. The Boston Red Sox World Series trophies from 2004, 2007 and 2013 will be on display, probably down the left-field line, where the kids’ play area used to be.

“It’ll be a cool backdrop with the stadium, and it’ll be a great photo opportunity for people,” Wallace said.

And the Knights are expecting a lot of people. Unlike last year, where the opener was a complete washout, the weather is expected to be clear and pleasant, about 70 degrees at game time. A crowd of close to 2,000 is expected, as the team has nearly doubled its season ticket sales, with group sales way up and the good weather bringing large walk-up sales. There will also be a post-game fireworks show, as has been a Friday night custom.

“We’re in such a better position this year than last year,”
Silver Knights president Tim Bawmann said. “Ronnie did a great job in the off-season. The buzz is finally where I was hoping it would get to.”

Local dignitaries will be on the field for the ceremonial first pitch just prior to 7, about an hour after the gates open.

Prior to the game, there will also be a moment of silence for Knights pitching coach Tom Bowles, who died last week. The team will wear patches bearing his initials, which will also be painted into the first base coach’s box. That box is expected to be left empty at the start of the game.

There have been many changes on and off the field. The play area is now located down the right-field line, near the home bullpen. Picnic tables inhabit the area down the left-field line.

A small bar area is located on the main concourse, where the old apparel store was. The store has been replaced by a kiosk located on the concourse.

As for the baseball product, that will be different as well. The Knights roster has been overhauled, as only seven players are back from last year’s FCBL finalists that finished 34-19 and beat Brockton in the semifinals before being swept by the Sharks.

Merrimack lefty Tom Hudon was set to start the Holman opener on the mound before Thursday’s game at Martha’s Vineyard was rained out. That may alter the rotation.

The manager is new, too. Last year’s popular skipper, J.P. Pyne, opted to step down after taking a job as an assistant coach at the University of Maine. He was also the manager at Daniel Webster College.

The Knights moved quickly and hired former Martha’s Vineyard manager and Brockton Rox assistant Ted Currle. He is the team’s fourth manager in four years, the turnover just due to an odd set of circumstances but fairly typical of summer collegiate league baseball.

“This is seen as the ultimate in the league,” Currle said of the Nashua job. “I hope to be here a long time.”

The Knights opened their season with a 9-5 win at Old Orchard Beach on Wednesday, and they visit the newest team in the league, Worcester, on Saturday, but return to Holman Sunday. Sunday games will now start at 2 p.m., but as an example of the team’s aggressive promotional schedule, U.S. Olympic gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman will be on hand to sign autographs.

The team will also have a special 11:05 a.m. “Education Day” game on Tuesday for groups from local schools.

“We’re going to continue to stay ahead of the curve in terms of promotions,” Wallace said.

The curves, sliders, and fastballs all begin for another summer of 28 home dates that conclude on Aug. 8 with the possibility of playoff games the few days beyond that.

“You work your tail off since November to get ready for the season, and you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Wallace said.

“There’s nothing better than baseball season. We can’t wait to do our game day operations, having people in the park and making sure they’re having a great time. I can’t wait.”