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Monday, June 9, 2014

Knights go down with Sun in 18 innings

NASHUA – It’s a good thing the Nashua Silver Knights and Pittsfield Sun have Monday off.

But the visitors will have more fun on their off day than the Knights, who dropped a 4-3 decision in Sunday’s 18 inning affair that took four hours and 54 minutes to complete before a smattering of the 1,511 at Holman Stadium. Those who stayed witnessed the longest game in the franchise’s three-plus years. ...

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NASHUA – It’s a good thing the Nashua Silver Knights and Pittsfield Sun have Monday off.

But the visitors will have more fun on their off day than the Knights, who dropped a 4-3 decision in Sunday’s 18 inning affair that took four hours and 54 minutes to complete before a smattering of the 1,511 at Holman Stadium. Those who stayed witnessed the longest game in the franchise’s three-plus years.

“That’s baseball,” Knights manager Ted Currle said after the two teams combined to leave 30 men on base, with 20 of them belonging to Pittsfield. “We had plenty of opportunities to win. I thought our bullpen was phenomenal, and obviously theirs was too.”

Nashua, which fell to 2-2 on the young FCBL season, got five scoreless relief innings from Travis Landry. But the Knights, who were outhit 17-14, paid for missing chances to win in the 15th (first and second, nobody out), the 12th (runner on second, one out) and the 16th (runner on third, two out).

Blake Drew (1-0) got the win for the Sun with three innings of one-hit ball, as he was one of a combined 12 pitchers used on the day. Pittsfield (2-3) finally broke through against Knights reliever Cody Gilchrist (0-1) in the top of the 18th.

Michael Valentin, who was hit by a pitch, was on second with two out when teammate Brenden Geary cracked a double to right center. The throw came right to the glove of Nashua catcher Matt McDowell, beating Valentin, but McDowell bobbled it and Valentin scored.

“I knew it was going to be a close play because the ball beat me by about a step,” Valentin said. “I don’t know what happened out there but they have to make two perfect throws. … It was as hell of a game.”

“They took a big chance sending that runner to the plate and we didn’t make the play,” Currle said. “He’s out by maybe 30 feet if we don’t short-hop the throw.”

Pittsfield rallied from a 3-0 deficit with a pair in the fourth on Luke Reynolds’ RBI single off starter John Hauck and one in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Jeff McGarry.

The Silver Knights jumped out to their early three-run lead when Matt Sanchez led off the first with a walk, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Mike Pierson’s RBI single.

Mike Geannelis knocked in two in the third after Sanchez walked and Pierson doubled.

Nashua executed sacrifice bunts perfectly in extra innings. But the most painful frame was the 15th where McDowell got picked off second and Harry Oringer lined into a double play.

“Just one of those days,” Nashua outfielder Jimmy Ricoy said. “It happens. Good thing it’s early in the season. We played our butts off. We’ll bounce back.”

Notes

Knights pitcher Cole Warren’s shoulder is improving as he threw a little on Saturday, but not to the point where he can return as of yet. He’s seeing a doctor the early part of this week to make sure there’s no structural damage.

Don’t look now but it appears the third base job is Oringer’s (Endicott) to lose. “He’s really good,” Currle said.

Knights Joe Napolitano and Ricoy were supposed to have the day off on Sunday. Ricoy came into the game in the middle innings as a pinch-hitter and stayed in the game, as did Napolitano in the extra frames.

Mondays through most of the season will be a league-wide FCBL day off. The Silver Knights play again Tuesday at Holman Stadium against the Seacoast Mavericks. Matt Tulley (Virginia Tech) is the scheduled Knights starter.