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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Nashua Silver Knights need to get hot in FCBL

It’s a hot, event-filled week in the middle of July.

In particular, it’s a big week for the Nashua Silver Knights. ...

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It’s a hot, event-filled week in the middle of July.

In particular, it’s a big week for the Nashua Silver Knights.

This is their time. This is when they need to make a push on the field to get back to where we’re all used to them being, at or near the top of the standings.

They’ve been treading water for awhile now, hanging around the .500 mark, and at 17-16 and about 20 games left to play (yeah, it goes by fast), it’s time to make a move. This is a perfect week to do it.

First, they have back-to-back games with the team that leads their division, the 19-13 Worcester Bravehearts. They’ll just have to adjust their body clocks, as the games Tuesday at Holy Cross College’s Fitton Field in Worcester and on Wednesday at Holman Stadium are both 11:05 a.m. “Camp Day” starts.

The Silver Knights started the week with a nice 8-5 road win on Sunday over Chris English’s Brockton Rox. The Rox just happen to be the East Division leader with an FCBL-best mark of 22-13. English and old friend Todd Marlin have done a great job in their first year running the Rox.

The Silver Knights’ organization isn’t used to seeing itself this mediocre deep into the season. After the two games with Worcester, Nashua has to feast on the weaker FCBL teams, who are being served up on a platter for them this week. They take on the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs at Holman on Thursday night and then the Old Orchard Raging Tide on Friday night, also at Holman. Saturday they go to Portsmouth to face a Seacoast Mavericks team that is a mirror 17-16 image of the Knights, much better than they have been. Then the Tide comes back to Nashua on Sunday.

It’s time. This is the chance. The Tide, at 10-22, have been anything but raging this season, and have lost eight of their last 10. We love their skipper, former Nashua Pride standout Chris Torres, but Nashua fans would love to see the Knights take advantage of the Tide’s misfortunes more.

The Dirt Dawgs, at 12-21, have a bark that’s worse than their bite ,and are 3-7 in their last 10 games.

So you see the point. There are a lot of teams in the league just waiting to bust out – defending champ Martha’s Vineyard is only 19-16 – so time is a factor.

The FCBL has gotten much better in the last couple of years in terms of pitching, and despite a 3.58 team ERA, the Silver Knights aren’t as strong in that department as in the past. So, they can try to make up for that with offense, and need certain bats to get hot, as manager Ted Currle alluded earlier this month.

In the last week, Jimmy Ricoy has answered the call, raising his average to .308 from the mid .240s, and has three homers and 14 RBIs. But with just four players – Ricoy, Matt Sanchez, Mike Pierson and Pat Florence – hitting over .300, more have to join the club Ricoy went 3 for 5 with a homer, double, and three RBIs in the 8-5 win Sunday at Brockton.

Something that normally would help the Silver Knights is the fact that after Tuesday, four of their next five are at Holman. The franchise’s teams have always benefited from home cooking, but this year the meals are stale. They are 7-9 at HHS, and that’s not good. Also, they haven’t looked good in a lot of those home losses, throwing the ball around and making fundamental mistakes that could be turning some fans away. There hasn’t been much drama, not many walk-off wins, and a few long, extra-inning losses.

This past Saturday they only drew 950 on a beautiful night, a night on which a four-figure crowd ought to be automatic.

It was a bad night all around as the Knights lost 7-1 at the hands of North Shore, being one-hit by the Navigators’ Alex Valenti.

Nashua has dropped to fourth in attendance at 1,142 average while Worcester is having a great first year, averaging 1,609 fans a game, followed by an upsurge in Pittsfield (1,588) and then status quo in Brockton (1,399).

Thus, now is the time for the Silver Knights to make a move in the stands as well as the standings.

It’s mid-July. Time for the Silver Knights to polish their armor and shine.

Tom King can be reached at 594-6468 or tking@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow King on
Twitter (@Telegraph_TomK).