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Silver Knights open third FCBL season at home on June 5

NASHUA – Believe it or not, the Nashua Silver Knights season will begin in less than five months.

As of Thursday, the exact date is now known, as the Futures Collegiate Baseball League announced its 2013 schedule. The two-time defending champion Knights will open at Holman Stadium on Wednesday, June 5 at 7:05 p.m. against the North Shore Navigators, the team they swept for the title in two games.

The FCBL did not add any teams this year, and each of the nine teams will play a 54-game schedule, 27 at home and 27 away. There is however, a new twist with six teams instead of four making the playoffs – seeds three through six playing in a one-game playoff, with winners advancing to the semifinals to face the top two seeds.

The Knights will have six Fireworks Nights, five on Fridays (June 7, 21, July 5, 26 and Aug. 2) and one on Wednesday, July 3. Last season’s July 3 game provided one of the biggest crowds in franchise history.

The first two years, the home opener has been on a weekend night, so having it on a Wednesday “will be a new dynamic,” said Silver Knights VP Jon Goode, adding the team will have its championship ring ceremony and raise a title banner that night. “Hopefully we can get a big crowd.”

The team will also have four Thursday night games, which they sell fountain drinks and beer for one dollar, another major draw the first couple of seasons.

“It sets up real well for us,” Goode said. “For Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays we have 18 of the 27,” Goode said. “It definitely helps in terms of trends, when people come, when they don’t.

Monday through Saturday games will start at 7:05 p.m. with two exceptions – 11:05 a.m. starts on Wednesday, June 12 and Tuesday, July 9, the latter geared for summer camps and the former for school field trips.

“We’re hoping for a good response,” Goode said.

The team has five Saturday night home dates, but only two Friday-Saturday weekends (June 21-22, Aug. 2-3).

Sundays will start as they have the first two seasons at 5:05 p.m. The regular season will conclude with a home game on Thursday, Aug. 8 versus the Seacoast Mavericks.

On not adding any teams for this year, Goode said “It’s a different mentality of the league. … We didn’t want to add teams just for the sake of adding teams. That’s how you weaken the league instead of making it stronger.”

As for the expanded playoffs, Goode says the franchise is in favor of it, as the team has drawn well in the postseason. The semis and finals will remain best-of-three series.

“More of an opportunity to make the playoffs is fine with us,” he said.

For the complete schedule, go to www.nashuasilverknights.com.