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Silver Knights look well armed

NASHUA – The Nashua Silver Knights are hoping as they prepare to open their 2022 season on Thursday night at Holman Stadium that there’s strength in numbers.

They have as many as 47 players under contract, and that includes two on temporary deals. The roster limit for the FCBL has gone up significantly over the last couple of years and Silver Knights GM Cam Cook says at no time will they have more than 40 active. They’ll start the season with 27 on the active roster, and Opening Night they’ll have, Cook estimates, 14 pitchers, three catchers, two first basemen, four infielders, four outfielders at a minimum.

“The first two weeks of the season was a completely different team than weeks three through 10,” Cook said. “So our goal is let’s get a ton of guys, no concerns opening day, first two weeks of the season.

“Guys will get shut down, guys will get hurt. Everything will sort itself out, and we don’t need to add guys during the season. Guys will get hurt, guys will get shut down (by their colleges).”

And, Cook said, guys will get released due to struggling on the field.

Last year the Knights were too young and their initial roster was too temporary because of the the pandemic-related extension of the college season.

Just to field a team, Cook said, “was a scramble.”

The result? A bad start en route to missing the playoffs for the first time in the franchise’s

history.

“We’re lucky where we have a really good mesh of D1, DII, DIII guys,” Cook said. “The DIII guys have 120 at bats under their belts, a week or two of rest, and they’re ready to rock.”

PITCHERS

Here’s a breakdown, with nothing etched in stone as relievers could become starters and vice-versa:

Potential starters – Jonah Wachter (Tulane), Adam Betty (Saint Anselm), Brayden Clark (Salvae Regina), Trevor Neff (Holy Cross), Brock Pare (Salem State), Shea Ryan (Assumption), Bobby Cliche (Plymouth).

Jonah Wachter pitched a few innings for Tulane this season and will return to the site (Holman) of his state title winning no-hitter last June.

“It wasn’t a redshirt year, he was with (Tulane) every day, so he has his freshman year under his belt, ready to pitch for us,” Cook said. “And his arm’s going to be fresh, which is almost better for us.”

Betty struggled at the start for Saint A’s but eventually recovered to have good outings, a 4-4 mark over 56 1/3 innings, an innings eater.

For a top Division III Salvae Regina team, at last look Clark had a 2.73 ERA, 6-1 record with 56 strikeouts vs. 11 walks; pencil him in.

Bobby Cliche for Plymouth will likely start the season in the rotation for Nashua; he also struggled to star the season at PSU (2-6), but has 61 strikeouts in 57 innings.

Neff was 3-1 for Holy Cross with a 4.73 ERA and 26 strikeouts, nine walks in 31 innings pitched. He’s been, according to Cook, the Crusaders’ first arm out of the bullpen, but he may start for Nashua.

A lot of options for Jackson, including with Pare, who had a 4.53 ERA with 55 strikeouts as perhaps Salem State’s No. 2 or 3 starter. He’s 6-5, but just 190, but is a hard thrower and said to be very competitive.

Ryan, who is entering his fourth Silver Knights season, has had control issues in past but has 40 strikeouts to 20 walks in 13 starts at last look with Assumption, pitched well down the stretch last summer here and will be in the rotation at least at the start of the season.

Potential Relievers – Liam Doyle (lefty, Coastal Carolina) Aiven Cabral (Northeastern), Zach Gitschier (Clark), Cole Glassburn (Worcester State), Brandon Hsu (University of Rhode Island), Caleb McGrath (Occidental College),Brandon McCorley (Cawtaba College), Avery Mosseau (lefty, Saint A’s), Noah Mrotek (Maryland) Noah Wachter (lefty, Plymouth State) L.T. Pare (Merrimack), Sean Ryan (Clark), George Welch (lefty, SNHU), Tyler Wright (Plymouth State)

We all have seen Doyle, who struck out 17 Nashua South hitters last month as a Pinkerton Astro and won’t be here at Holman until mid to late June, depending on how far the Astros go.

A live arm, who could potentially be a big weapon out of the pen if he doesn’t start.

“If that kid is a setup or closer for us, oh my goodness,” said Cook. “If he’s a one-time through-a-lineup guy, he’s going to be awesome.”

The CC coaches talked with Cook back in January, and Cook, once he saw him, was sold.

“Every coach says their guy’s the best,” Cook said. “I just like to make sure.”

Incoming Northeastern freshman Cabral is one of the Huskies top recruits and could either start or relieve.

Gitschier will be a short inning guy, a returner from 2021, and pitched 12 1/3 innings out of the Clark pen with a save.

Glassburn started five games for WSU (2-4), was hit (44 hits in 29 innings) but just nine walks to 27 strikeouts. The Knights want strikes, period.

The lone pitching local is Hollis Brookline alum Hsu, who was redshirted at URI, and is looked at as someone who may settle into a relief role as the season

progresses.

McGrath threw limited innings at Occidental as a freshman and will be a one or two inning Knight; same for McSorley.

Mosseau, of Bedford, had could be a setup or closer; at last look for the Hawks he tossed 27 innings, 31 strikeouts, 19 walks and opponents were hitting .220 vs. him.

“A tough lefty,” Cook said.

Mrotek could land any role possible; at Maryland he was at last look 3-1 out of 14 appearances out of the pen. Not bad for a Big 10 team.

Noah Wachter pitched with Nashua last year but struggled this spring at Plymouth State and is expected to be a long lefty reliever, key with starters going only four or five innings to start the season.

Merrimack’s Pare (no relation to Brock Pare) pitched out of the pen for Nashua next year. When he’s on, he’s on; when not, he’s not with his three-quarter delivery. Ryan started non-conference but, otherwise, was out of the bullpen for Clark.

Welch, the longtime Silver Knight, has 37 strikeouts in 24 innings, mostly out of the pen (two starts in 11 appearances) for the Penmen.

“He’s been awesome this year for SNHU,” Cook said. “If we really need a lefty out of the pen, he’s our guy.”

PSU’s Wright adds depth and the Knights will work with him.

CATCHERS

Greg Bozzo (Northeastern), Boston Forbes (Kennesaw State), Noah Jankowski (Bates), Chris Katz (Wake Forest), Kyle Lavigne (Austin Peay)

Two are temps, one being familiar former Bishop Guertin backstop Bedford’s Lavigne, who had his final year of high school eligibility last year and will resume his career next fall in college. If he hits, he’ll stay.

The other temp is Bates’ Noah Jankowski.

Bozzo struggles offensively, was here last year, but his defense is good.

Forbes, who will be a freshman this fall and is from Canton, Ga., will be here Opening Night and could be the starting catcher. He was recommended by a Red Sox scout.

A Cook favorite may be Katz, who hit .355 in 29 games (15 starts) with the Demon Deacons, striking out only 17 times. Depends on how far Wake goes in the postseason as to when he arrives.

INFIELDERS

Jake Cooper (Penn State), Brady Desjardins (Niagara), Andrew Jemison (St. Thomas), Will MacLean (UMass), Jack McDermott (Amherst), Carmelo Musacchia (Northeastern), James Powers (Anna Maria), Matt Travisano (Pittsburgh), Ray Velazquez (Vanderbilt) and Kyle Wolff (Boston College).

Cooper is the son of Penn State head coach Rob Cooper, got just 14 at-bats in a likely redshirt year, a middle infielder.

Desjardins was here for the second half of the season last year and did well defensively, mainly at short.

Jemison is hitting .326 for St. Thomas with 12 doubles, four triples, two homers, 36 RBIs, .440 on base, 12 stolen bases – as a junior.

“He is a bonafide All Conference baseball player at a very good (Division II) school,” Cook said, noting he could be a third baseman, possible shortstop, and definitely a starter.

Maclean, who was here late last year as a first baseman, was hitting .315 at UMass at last look.

Musacchia is another of Northeastern’s top recruits as a middle infielder, out of New York City proper.

Cook is looking forward to Anna Maria’s James Powers,who hit .357 with 10 doubles and 13 stolen bases, is a hustling corner infielder but can play just about anywhere, including outfield. He will be here Opening Night.

Another incoming freshman, Travisano, out of Carlisle, Mass., can also pitch, but it’s not likely Pitt wants him on the mound. Corner infielder, likely bottom of lineup player when he’s here.

Vanderbilt incoming freshman, Ray Velazquez is out of Lowell, can play third, and won’t be here right away as a high school player, but is said to be a great hitter.

Wollf, another incoming freshman, is a lefty bat out of Andover, Mass. who will add depth at first base.

Where the younger players fall will be wait-and-see, but Cook says Jackson likely wants a steady infield lineup.

“There’ll be less rotation this year,” he said, adding he’s not concerned about the youth of the infield because of the other

veterans.

OUTFIELDERS

Matt D’Mato (Salve Regina), Zach Martin (Maryland), Mitch McCabe (Pace), Pat McConnell (Colby), Shane McNamara (Eastern Nazarene), Rich Paltridge (Penn State), Jack Toomey (Holy Cross).

D’Mato, a .300 hitter at Salve, is a likely leadoff hitter for the Knights, a lefty at bat, will hit the ball on the ground and be active on the bases.

“A guy we really haven’t had for awhile,” Cook said. “A leadoff hitter.” One with a .430 on-base percentage.

Martin got 28 at bats at Maryland as a freshman and will look to take his game to the next level here.

Looking for power? McCabe’s your guy, 11 homers at Pace with 31 RBIs, and can run (six stolen bases). He’ll be here Opening Night, will be a senior with an extra year thanks to the pandemic. Cook can’t wait.

Colby’s Pat McDonnell, a .295 hitter at Colby, will likely fill in as a platoon player. He was hurt to start the season and got only 78 at-bats this spring.

McNamara, a returnee from Londonderry, hit .314 with six homers this year, with a .390 OBP, can also play first base. Paltridge was a medical red shirt, lefty hitter, can also play first, similar to McNamara.

And finally, Toomey, the lone incoming freshman of the group, also has power, and can be a home run-derby type.

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