By Mark Colley
The Nashua Silver Knights’ early season struggles have been a war of consistency — sometimes too much, sometimes too little. They began with three consecutive rainouts, then got too comfortable through a seven-game homestand before being rushed into a four-game, two-day road trip.
The struggles continued Saturday as a new war came into focus: the lack of a consistent roster. With players still leaving and joining the team, the Silver Knights dropped their Holman Stadium matchup to the Norwich Sea Unicorns 9-4.
“They haven’t formed as a team yet,” manager Kyle Jackson said. “I know that they get along really well, but I don’t think they have really gelled on the field.”
Six Nashua players will be leaving the team over the next week while all final roster additions will join the team by Thursday. Compared to Norwich, which has had relative consistency through the first three weeks of the season, the Silver Knights’ roster is still coming into focus.
“Give it a week. Everyone gets here, the roster’s set, we’ll have a meeting and say this is it and move forward,” Jackson said.
Nashua scored four runs in the first without swinging the bat. Four walks and a hit by pitch — plus two wild pitches — gave the Silver Knights the early lead, but the Sea Unicorns clawed back against starter Jack Beauchesne and the Nashua bullpen. Nashua never scored again.
While the Silver Knights only had four hits, all singles, they did walk nine times compared to 13 strikeouts. Kyle Hannon led the way with three walks.
Out of the bullpen, Shea Ryan impressed the most, pitching two innings and giving up one run while striking out three. It was only the second run he’s allowed all year in what is shaping up to be a strong season.
Despite roster changes, what you see is what you get in the Nashua bullpen. Only one new pitcher — a starter — will be joining the team and Jackson said the role each reliever plays is starting to come into focus.
That’s in direct contrast to the lineup, which has been jumbled for the first weeks of the season. Even Hannon, who started in left field on Saturday and impressed with a strong throw home in the top of the second, is traditionally a second baseman.
“I’ll get a lineup one day,” Jackson said, emphasizing that having a consistent infield will help even out the defense and offense. “I’ll figure it out. Mix and match.”
Another struggle for Nashua on Saturday was simply the fact they had played four games in the prior two days. The Silver Knights travelled to Pittsfield on Thursday and Westfield on Friday for back-to-back seven-inning doubleheaders, arriving back in Nashua at 2 AM on Friday morning and 1 AM Saturday.
The fatigue of late night travel — plus the wear-and-tear setting in after 14 games — meant the Silver Knights were sluggish on Saturday, making four errors in the field and striking out with late swings.
The Silver Knights will travel again Sunday to face the New Britain Bees, before an off day on Monday. They return home Tuesday for a 6 PM game against the Vermont Lake Monsters.