Rain brings out offense in 12-3 Silver Knights’ win
When it rains, it pours — both literally and figuratively for the Nashua Silver Knights, who battled through a drizzly Saturday night to clober the Norwich Sea Unicorns 12-3 at Holman Stadium, the best offensive showing of the year.
Seven games into the season, the comparisons aren’t even close. Prior to Saturday, the Silver Knights had only scored five or more runs once, in a 7-5 loss to the New Britain Bees on June 1. But on Saturday, Nashua scored five runs in the seventh inning alone.
It put to bed the early-season offensive struggles of a Nashua team that had stuttered out of the gate, losing four games in a row to start the season and five of the first six. Manager Kyle Jackson said after Friday’s loss that the team would make adjustments in batting practice — and those adjustments worked.
“Instead of trying to pull everything, wherever the ball is pitched, just go there,” Jackson said. “Their approaches were phenomenal tonight. They put the ball in play and gave themselves a chance to get hits, not trying to hit home runs and line drives.”
Part of the offensive struggles through the first six games was reliance on the long ball. Nashua hit at least one home run in every game but one, and only scored two runs in that match-up. On Saturday, they didn’t hit a homer.
“We saw tonight where baserunners matter, home runs don’t,” Jackson said. “Home runs are always nice for the fans, but base hit after base hit can take a toll on a team … They listened and they learned and they got better.”
Saturday’s standout performer was catcher Ben Jerome, who racked up four RBI on two singles, all from the number nine spot in the lineup. Prior to today Jerome had only been on base twice.
“We’ve been struggling as a unit with the bats lately,” Jerome said. “It feels good. It’s definitely a step in a positive direction.”
What makes Jerome’s night even more special is the situations he was put in with runners on base. The seven-eight-nine hitters in the Silver Knights’ lineup scored all but two of the team’s 12 runs and had “the better at-bats of the whole team,” Jackson said.
“Jerome had a phenomenal game tonight, [Joe] Muzzio had a great game, [Tyler Gonzalez] had a nice double,” Jackson said. “When these guys get on, someone’s gonna knock them in.”
Were it not for the explosive offense, Nashua starter Aidan Crowley still did enough to give Nashua a chance. He pitched five innings, allowing six hits and three walks but limiting the Sea Unicorns to one earned run.
In the end, it all turned around thanks to a rain delay. With downpours between the third and fourth inning, the game was suspended while tied 1-1. Coming out of the delay, the Silver Knights scored three in the bottom of the fourth inning — then one more in the fifth and five more in the seventh.
If that’s what turns this season around, the Silver Knights will take it.