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Nashua’s Silver Knights add lots of talent to 2013 lineup

When last year’s Nashua Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett accepted his promotion to team VP in charge of player procurement, he knew it would be a big job.

Thus, the Silver Knights team you see this summer will not resemble its predecessors. At first, you will need a scorecard to tell who the players are, as the team building continues.

“This feels like the first year, a brand new team,” Neverett said. “The second year, we just had the main nucleus returning and filled around it.

“We have a good nucleus coming back, but there are a lot of new guys.”

In fact, the Silver Knights may not be the big power club this summer of the first two years. Big boppers like Jon Minucci and Chris Shaw have moved on, and it may be more of a contact/speed club, losing about 40 homers from last year’s lineup.

“I don’t know, it’s a different type team,” Neverett said. “Three guys can run sub 6.3 (seconds) in the 60 (yard dash).”

Including the speedy Lyons brothers of Bedford, Sean and Connor, currently teammates at Northeastern University and both of whom were part of the club last year.

Also back from the pitching staff is ace Chris Good, who is out at the University of New Mexico, and locals Alek Morency and Travis Terrill, both at Merrimack College. Bedford’s Cole Warren (University of Rhode Island), Nashua’s Connor Root (Bentley), lefty Tom Baroni (Bates) and lefty relief ace Cody Rocha (Assumption) are all returning to the staff.

But adding some spice to the mix are former area high school standout hurlers Jake Mellin (Nashua North, University of Hartford) and Tom Hudon (Merrimack, Saint Anselm College).

“We still want to bring those local guys here,” Neverett said.

The Futures League allowed high school grads who were set to play in college and committed to other summer leagues (Cape Cod) for next year to compete in 2012. This summer it will be the same deal and Neverett had three top high school players set to come: Pitcher Matt King
(Bishop Hendricken in R.I., Boston College), infielder John Adams (Walpole, Mass., B.C.); and first baseman Ryan Sullivan of Hopkinton, Mass., set to go to the University of Connecticut, and according to some, the
top rated New England prospect.

“I think he’s another Shaw. I think he’ll be drafted but probably won’t sign,” Neverett said. “But how will he be? I don’t know. We really didn’t know what we had until we saw Chris.”

On the college level, there are more new players. Two new catchers will be on board, UMass Lowell sophomore Jacob O’Keefe and a current Boston College freshman Steve Sauter who hails from Fullerton, Calif.

On the mound, another B.C. freshman, Jeff Burke out of Hixon, Tenn., compared by many as a righhanded Nick Poore, will be on the roster. Incidentally, the Salem lefty who went 6-1 last year has been assigned by the B.C. staff to a summer league in the Carolinas and won’t be back.

The Knights have secured another righty from Lowell, Mass., who is pitching at Virginia Tech, Matt Tulley, and added UMass Lowell sophomore Kevin Veilleux, a Manchester
native.

In the infield, Maine’s Eric White is returning – he had to leave late last season – but the Knights have thus far added Bryant College freshman Dan Cellucci and Southern New Hamsphire University’s Bryan Toland.

In the outfield, newcomers include another SNHU player, Alex Allstott, Franklin Pierce freshman Vince Rebar and UMass Lowell soph Jimmy Ricoy. Ricoy played for Pittsfield last summer but during an open signing period in September was allowed to hook up with Nashua, as it made more sense in terms of location. Another UMass Lowell player, Matt Sanchez (Sunrise, Fla.) is on the roster.

“We still have some spots open and we’re still looking for another arm or two,” Neverett said. “It’s getting easier, we’re being contacted by (college) coaches more.”

The biggest challenge, Neverett said, is to get housing for players not from the area. Anyone interested in hosting a player for the summer should contact the club.

“We’ve had to pass on some good players because we don’t think we can house them,” Neverett said. “It’s a great experience for the kids.”

Change in date

In case you missed it, the Silver Knights season opener has been moved from its original mid-week June 5 date versus North Shore at Holman Stadium to a more fan friendly night. Opening Night is now scheduled
for Friday, June 7 versus Martha’s Vineyard.

It was done to avoid a conflict with the NHIAA Division I baseball semifinals, scheduled June 5 at Holman.

“We noticed it right away. It was on the schedule for only a couple of days and we moved it,” Knights VP Jon Goode said.

To make up the date with North Shore, the game will be added to make a doubleheader staring at 5 p.m. July 28 at Holman.

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