Nashua Silver




Wachter Delivers, Katz Wins Derby, Knights Win Back-to-Back

Photo: Kailey Lane/Nashua Silver Knights

Morale was high heading for the Silver Knights as they headed into their fourth game of the week, coming off a home win that ended a six-game losing skid. Following the much-needed victory, Nashua would head back down to New Britain to take on the Bees Friday night. In a chess match of a ballgame, the Knights would pick up their second win in a row via a 3-1 Home Run Derby victory.

Looking to avenge the two losses the Knights endured at the hands of the Bees earlier in the week, Nashua would look to try and string together back-to-back wins for their third matchup of the week with New Britain. Tulane’s Jonah Wachter took the bump for the Knights, looking to get his second win of the 2022 season. Mitchell’s Chris Gibbs got the start for New Britain as the Bees attempted to get their season record above .500 with a win.

Both pitchers went eye for eye in the first two frames, both putting up scoreless innings. Gibbs was locked in for the Bees until a single from Amherst’s Jack McDermott and a huge two out double by Wake Forest’s Chris Katz left Gibbs with runners on second and third with arguably the best bat in the Knights lineup coming up to the plate, Siena’s Richie Paltridge. After getting a day off on Thursday, Paltridge picked up right where he left off with a RBI single to drive in McDermott. A huge two out RBI knock by the Montgomery, New York native helped Nashua jump out to a 1-0 lead.

Continuing a common trend in the Bees-Knights matchups, New Britain would quickly respond to the Knights early lead. In the bottom of the third, UConn’s Gavin Greger would open the half inning with a double. With a runner already in scoring position with no outs, the Bees were threatening to tie the ballgame up in a blink of an eye. After a groundout moved the runner over to third, MIT’s Teddy Schoenfeld would be productive in his at bat with a sacrifice fly to bring the runner home. After three, both teams were knotted up at one.

Aside from the one run, Jonah Wachter delivered an elite performance on Friday. Showing shades of his dominating win in his first outing against Westfield, Wachter kept the Bees stuck at one with four strikeouts in his seven innings pitched. A lengthy performance by Wachter helped the Knights by lifting some weight off the bullpen’s shoulders, a bullpen that didn’t have the prettiest of games in the win the night before.

For Nashua, there were a couple opportunities with runners in scoring position or multiple runners on base, but the Knights could not cash in. Overall, the Knights lineup had a quiet night at the plate. URI’s Bryan Kraus and Middlebury’s Justin Lessing both shined in relief appearances for New Britain, including Kraus posting five strikeouts and only one hit in his three innings of work.

Both teams were hunting for one run that could be the potential clincher as the innings started to dwindle. Worcester State’s Cole Glassburn came in for Wachter and picked up right where he left off. Glassburn, who had a rough outing against Vermont last time out, got back on track with a 1-2-3 eighth inning to leave the game tied going into the ninth.

After the Knights couldn’t get anything going in the top of the inning, the game was now in the hands of Wake Forest’s Will Andrews to try and force extra innings. With two outs in the inning, New Britain had runners on second and third with the winning run just 90 feet away from home. In a high leverage situation, Andrews got the batter to groundout and end the innings. After nine innings of play, both teams were still in a deadlock at one.

New Britain would continue their great pitching into extras, with George Washington’s Benny Wilson coming in and knocking down the Knights 1-2-3 with two strikeouts. In the bottom of the third, Andrews would get one more out before handing over the duties to URI’s Brandon Hsu. Hsu wouldn’t mess around in his relief appearance, getting out the first two batters he faced to end the inning and send the game into a Home Run Derby to decide it.

For Nashua, several names are in the conversation when it comes to home run hitters. But as of late, Chris Katz has been the guy. Katz has only played in four games for the Knights so far this season but has already tied the team lead for homers this season with two. Hoping his home run talent will translate into the derby, Katz blasted three homers with the Bees set to go next.

For New Britain, Post University’s Matt Goehrig was set to try and win it for the Bees. Katz’s three homers was not a large lead in terms of the FCBL Derby. For reference, UMass’s Will MacLean hit seven homers in Nashua’s last derby win. With all eyes on Goehrig, he could only muster up one home run in his ten outs which gave the Knights the victory 3-1.

In Thursday's win against Brockton, Nashua preserved with offensive firepower to take home the win. On Friday, the Knights would pull through once again but this time with outstanding performances by the pitching staff. After two games of extreme opposites, the Silver Knights now find themselves on a two-game win streak and now sit at 6-13.

Nashua will look to continue their winning ways as they travel to Westfield to take on the 12-8 Starfires. First pitch will be at 6:30 PM Saturday at Bullens Field. New Britain will stay home and welcome in the #1 team in the FCBL, the 16-4 Vermont Lake Monsters with a 6:35 PM first pitch.