Silver Knights win 3rd FCBL title in 6 years

>Nashua dethrones Worcester with 2-game sweep in finals

WORCESTER, Mass. – Somehow, some way, the Futures Collegiate Base­ball League is colored silver for the third time in six years.

The Nashua Silver Knights jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and topped the Worcester Bravehe­arts, 8-5, on Friday to sweep the best-of-three FCBL Finals and win per­haps the most improbable title of their three, the first since 2012.

How did they do it? The Silver Knights’ pitching arms, for the most part, were dangling, and they faced elimination after losing Game 1 of the semis to Seacoast, and of course were one strike away from losing Game 1 of the finals.

"We were down to our last guy," Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett said, as reliever Anthony Meduri labored through the ninth, walking in a run but retiring the game’s last two hitters on a pop up and strikeout. "Think of all the guys we lost (to injuries) and here we are."

Champions. Reliever Collin Duffley got the im­probable start, and held Worcester to two runs over five innings, toss­ing 97 pitches – the most he’s thrown in two years when he was at Worcester Academy. Reliever Justin Foley helped out for the second straight night, and Connor Gavin pitched out of an eighth inning jam.

"The fight on this team was unbelievable, like nothing I’d ever seen," Silver Knights catcher Anthony Fava said. "We just met each other two months ago and now we’re family."

Nashua started Game 2 quickly. Worcester start­er Brady Furdon, who had beaten the Knights twice here this season, hit to start the game. One out later Mickey Gasper walked and with two outs Cam DiSarcina doubled up the right center gap to plate both for a 2-0 lead. Harry Roberson with a pitch

"It’s unbelievable," DiSarcina said, his team outhitting Worces­ter 14-13. "A lot of guys stepped up when we needed it."

"I think we’re something like 28-4 when we scored first," Nev­erett said. "I had a feeling."

The Silver Knights took advan­tage of a close call at first to keep another two-run inning alive in the second. It was ruled Worces­ter first baseman Greg Kocinski’s foot was off the bag on a close play on a Roberson grounder. Yanni Thanopoulos followed with a two-run double for a 4-0 Nashua lead, chasing Furdon.

However, reliever Kevin Stone fanned DiSarcina with the bases loaded to prevent the Knights from breaking it open.

However, the Bravehearts rallied in the third off Silver Knights starter Collin Duffley with Ryan Ward smacking a two-run double off the glove of a div­ing Sullivan at first down the line to make it 4-2.

Nashua, however, answered in the fourth thanks to two walks and a sac fly by Mickey Gasper to make it a 5-2 game. They tacked on another for a 6-2 lead in the sixth on a Sullivan RBI single off Worcester’s third pitcher, lefty Mason Feole.

However, Worcester’s John Foley brought his team to within 6-4 with a two-run homer just in­side the right field foul pole, his second of the series, in the sev­enth.

However, Nashua’s third pitch­er, Connor Gavin pitched his way out of a two-out, two on jam in the eighth and Nashua added two more in the ninth on Charlie McConnell and Harry Roberson RBI singles.

Meduri loaded the bases on a bunt single, walk and hitbats­man and walked in a run. But he got Kocinski to pop to Cam Cook and fanned Austin Lonestar with the bases loaded to give the Knights the 2016 title.