Back on the Throne: Knights Rally Back 6-5; Nashua Wins Sixth Title
August 12th. The final day of the 2022 Futures League calendar. After roughly 4,500 innings of baseball played between eight teams since late May, the Futures League Championship now came down to just nine. Nashua and Vermont have battled back and forth all season, including the Silver Knight’s miraculous come from behind walk off win just the night prior. Now with the series tied at one, game three was set to be an all-time classic.
Plymouth State’s Noah Wachter got the honors for game three on Friday, looking to wash away an up and down season with a big championship performance. Endicott’s Ian Parent took the bump for Vermont, trying to finish off a back-to-back championship season for the Lake Monsters. With the national anthem in the books and all the pregame festivities finished, the two teams were set to clash for the title.
In the top of the second, Nashua would do something they hadn’t accomplished all series long as the Knights would strike first on the scoreboard. UMass’s Will MacLean’s leadoff single and a walk from Niagara's Brady Desjardins gave Nashua two runners on and no outs, allowing Salve Regina’s Matt D’Amato to bring home one run on a sacrifice fly.
Considering the circumstances, Wachter gave the Knights some of his best work. A typical reliever being thrown in for a start in the championship is no easy task, but Noah only gave up two earned runs on three hits in five and ⅔ innings.
While Wachter only gave up two earned, five runs would score with him on the mound. This is due to a pivotal slip-up by Nashua’s defense. With two outs and the bases loaded in the third, Wachter was looking to get out of the grueling inning. Trinity’s Brian Schaub was at the dish, as a fly ball from Schaub to centerfield looked like the Knights were going to get out of it. But a misplay by D’Amato let the ball drop to the grass as a fly out quickly turned into a bases clearing three RBI double.
Vermont capitalized on the blunder, taking a 3-1 lead. Now down two, the Knights refused to disappear like their last trip to Vermont and answered back quickly. In the fourth, Desjardins singled with runners aboard to give him his first playoff RBI. Nashua would chip away one at bat at a time, working walks and posting singles to keep the line moving. This “small ball” style of play would keep up until Amherst’s Jack McDermott was due up in the fifth.
After a walk from Colby’s Brady O’Brien, McDermott stepped up to the plate. McDermott, who was the walk off hero from the night before, once again had a signature postseason moment. McDermott crushed a ball to right field, clearing the fence for a two-run homer to put the Knights back on top. With three homers and nine RBIs in the postseason, “Mr. August” came to play on Friday,
Adrenaline was pumping for the Knights, but in typical Lake Monsters fashion, Vermont responded with a punch of their own. In the sixth, Wachter would load the bases which would end his night at five and ⅔ frames thrown. Nashua just needed one more out to get out of the inning with Worcester State’s Cole Glassburn coming in, but Tufts’s Connor Bowman wouldn’t let the opportunity slip away. Bowman punched a single to left to bring home two, giving the Lake Monsters a 5-4 lead.
Going back and forth with the lead all game, the Knights now found themselves down once again with time running out. After Vermont’s two run sixth, the Knights would get nothing going in the seventh and eighth. Now down to their last three outs, it appeared the Knights would come up just short of another trophy. Vermont got a quick first out in the ninth, as the Lake Monsters’s champagne was getting wheeled into the clubhouse.
Antsy for a celebration, Vermont would have to wait as McDermott once again delivered with a one out double. Now entered: Kyle Wolff. Boston College’s incoming freshman has been a star for the Knights all season, earning all-star honors as one of Nashua’s premier sluggers. Now with a man on second with the championship on the line, Wolff would have to step up one more time.
Wolff turned Vermont’s smirks into frowns, smashing a two-run homer to regain the lead. As Centennial Field fell silent, the Nashua dugout and traveling fans went into a frenzy with the Knights now in the driver's seat.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth, Wake Forest’s Will Andrews looked to close out Nashua’s unfathomable comeback victory and a sixth FCBL championship for the 603. Andrews would get a quick first out to start the inning, but Vermont would put together back-to-back singles to threaten once again. After intentionally walking Virginia’s Harrison Didawick, the bases were now loaded with only one out. Tuft’s Jimmy Evans would pop out on the first pitch, leaving it up to Trinity’s Brian Schaub to be the hero for Vermont.
Andrews and Schaub would battle in this at bat, with Schaub fouling off a couple pitches to stay alive. But on the fifth pitch of the at bat, Schaub would send a measly flyball to right field for the final out. Eastern Nazarene’s Shane McNamara secured the ball in his glove, and the Silver Knights were officially the 2022 Champions.
Nashua stormed the mound, capping off two incredible comeback wins to bring home the hardware. From starting the season 4-12, to several winning streaks, and to losing 12-0 in game one, this 2022 squad faced a plethora of highs and lows that makes the championship champagne that much sweeter. Nashua now has six championships in team history, crowning the Knights as the kings at the head of the FCBL throne.