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Silver Knights begin 10th season celebraton with Anderson signing

NASHUA – The Nashua Silver Knights have had their share of local players showing off their talents at Holman Stadium during their first nine years.

But they may have snagged the best one for their 10th anniversary season.

With the roster just about set, the team announced recently it has signed current Bishop Guertin High School standout and last spring’s New Hampshire Gatorade Player of the Year – and Telegraph Player of the Year – Brett Anderson.

“It was funny, (Bishop Guertin coach) Scott Painter would come in and say, ‘Is the contract out yet, is it sent? He’s looking for his contract.’ “ Silver Knights general manager Cam Cook said. “What’s exciting for us is he’s (Anderson) excited about it. He says he can’t wait.”

Anderson, of course, is able to be a Silver Knight thanks to the Future Collegiate League’s incoming freshmen rule, where teams are allowed – the last look was a maximum of five – players who are committed to schools and have just graduate high school. Anderson will be a senior at Bishop Guertin and has committed to the University of Hartford for the 2021 season.

Most importantly, UHartford coach Justin Blood is on board with it. Hartford has sent several players to Nashua in the past, including Souhegan grad Joe Grassett, who was used by the Knights as a key reliever the last two years.

“Coach Blood is all for it,” Cook said. “He’s been sending people here, and he likes the fact that Brett can get a taste of college baseball, the speed of the game, before he even steps on campus.”

It will be interesting to see how new Silver Knights manager Kyle Jackson uses Anderson, who can play first, the outfield, and obviously pitch.

Cook said he’s always liked the freshman rule, but feels a maximum of three would be better than five. He and Jackson have two other northern Massachusetts players who will be high school seniors this spring coming as well.

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The team has unveiled its new 10th Anniversary logo, as the 2020 season will mark a decade of Silver Knights baseball at Holman Stadium. It’s been a period that has brought four FCBL titles, 22 Major League draft picks, over 30 All-FCBL players, six FCBL single-season record and 11 FCBL individual career records.

The logo will be used, as the team said in a release, in the Silver Knights “social media platforms, communications and merchandise.”

One can probably assume there will be other events/activities planned around the anniversary celebration.

“I like it,” Cook said of the logo, that was developed by team VP Dave Peterson’s staff in Worcester.

Cook added in a release that “It’s important to not only celebrate the last 10 years of Silver Knights baseball, but the continued success and future of baseball in Nashua. The best is yet to come.”

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What’s also coming soon, surpsingly according to Cook, is the FCBL 2020 schedule. The league held its first off-season meeting earlier this month and it appears things will stay status quo – seven teams.

“The schedule might be out before the end of this month,” Cook said.

No push to find an eighth team?

“That work began last year,” he said, “and was going on all season. They (league officials) took inventory of what’s out there. Let’s say there was a team (city) that said, ‘We’re in.’ But then they say, ‘We can’t get it done.’ Then things are up in the air with the schedule.”

That happened last year with the dispute with Martha’s Vineyard about them bolting for the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) that lasted into January and the late addition of Westfield, Mass.

“We’ll be pushing for that move for eight,” Cook said. “I’m sure we can do it for 2021, but ideally, we’d like to get to 10.”

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Other things to come out of the meetings:

First, the playoff format has not been finalized as there has been a debate whether to stay with six out of seven making it, with the play-in game for seeds three through six and the top two getting byes. Or, Cook said, go with the top four teams and eliminate the first round play-in altogether…

Second, Cook said there is a strong possibility the league will go to three umpires for all games rather than just two, something managers have been pushing for for awhile. It certainly gets Cook’s approval, as he played as recently as three years ago.

“I look at it this way,” he said. “The hardest thing for a player is to be called out at third base when the umpire who is making the call is standing behind second.”

It seems, Cook said, that the home run derby to decide games after they’re deadlocked following 10 innings will remain. “It seems to be an acquired taste,” he said. The Knights have played in a few on the road, but none yet at Holman…

Finally, Cook said there will be a season ticket holder/fan event likely in December. Plans will be announced down the road.