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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jackson focuses on ‘little stuff’ for Nashua Silver Knights

NASHUA – One of the strengths for the Nashua Silver Knights over their first three years has been pitching, especially starting pitching.

That may not be the case this year, the numbers say. And that’s the task for new pitching coach Kyle Jackson to turn around. ...

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NASHUA – One of the strengths for the Nashua Silver Knights over their first three years has been pitching, especially starting pitching.

That may not be the case this year, the numbers say. And that’s the task for new pitching coach Kyle Jackson to turn around.

“I’m getting to know the guys, find out their tendencies and what they need to work on,” Jackson said. “It’s good.”

Jackson was a late addition to the coaching staff because of the unfortunate unexpected death of previous pitching coach Tom Bowlesa a week before the season was to start. But there were only four staff members from last year, so the overall team adjustment wasn’t as hard as it could have been.

It’s still an adjustment for Jackson, though. He was the Nashua High School South junior varsity coach this spring, so he’s working a couple of levels up.

“I’m just trying to help them figure out the whole pitching aspect of having to react to hitters, and how to pitch to hitters,” the former Alvirne High School standout and Boston Red Sox farmhand said. “When you don’t have our best stuff, find ways, what is working, to get guys out. When they’re down, how to get them back up. Dealing with adversity.”

Jackson says it’s interesting to find out what the college players don’t know, but should.

“Getting over to first base, covering bunts, backing up balls,” he said. “The small, little stuff goes a long way. It’s cost us a couple of runs. It’s just becoming a spectator or being in the game. We’re getting down to that.

“Other than that, it’s understanding their fastball is their main weapon, and everything is based off their fastball. All their off-speed (pitches) will come together.”

“It’s nice to know that he’s been through it all,” Silver Knights pitcher Mike Geannelis said. “It’s good to hear his advice, hear what he’s got to help me with. He’s good to work with.”

Jackson said he’s learning “that I had it easy in JV,” he said with a big chuckle. “I thought it was going to get easier here. Here, I’m just dealing with the pitchers; with the JVs, I was teaching the whole game. Now it’s the fine details that I kind of forgot about until you see the game situations.

“You’re not going to see a lot in JV. You’re not going to have those double cuts. You’re not going to have the in-between backing up bases. Where here, it’s, ‘Yeah, you need to get over, you need to get halfway.’ ”

In any event, Jackson is learning how to coach.

“Each year,” he said, “it’s going to get a little bit easier.”

Second opinion

It doesn’t appear as if shortstop Quin Whalberg, out of Edmond, Okla., will be back in the lineup anytime soon because of a groin injury. Silver Knights manager Ted Currle said Whalberg got one medical opinion that said he should be out a minimum of two to four weeks. Currle said early last week that the University of Oklahoma freshman will seek a second opinion; Silver Knights/Spinners management, and league Commissioner Chris Hall, set up an appointment with the Red Sox medical staff.

If they concur, it’s possible he could be done for the summer.

“We may have to shut him down,” Currle said. “We’ll wait and see.”

Notes

Derry left-hander Tom Viehoff won’t make his scheduled start Sunday at Pittsfield because of elbow soreness. Reliever Lucas Olen (1-0, 0.64) will make the spot start; game time is 4:05 p.m. …

With Whalberg out, Currle had usual second baseman Mike Pierson start at short and Harry Oringer was at second. …

Because of the new division setup, the Silver Knights play North Shore for the final time this season – believe it or not –
at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday in Lynn, Mass. Saturday was the Navigators’ final appearance at Holman.