NASHUA, N.H. (August 22, 2020) -- The Nashua Silver Knights have reclaimed their throne as the Futures Collegiate Baseball League's champions in 2020.
The Silver Knights bounced back from a 3-2, series-opening loss and won two consecutive contests to capture their record fifth championship in league history. After knotting the series with a 5-1 win, Saturday's 5-3 decision at Historic Holman Stadium sealed the crown.
First baseman Kyle Bouchard (Nichols) was named Championship Series MVP after going 5-for-11 with three runs scored and five RBI for Nashua. The Fall River, Mass., native tied the series opener with a two-run home run in the seventh inning before Worcester scored a late run to win. During the title-clinching win, Bouchard, who was a late-season addition to Manager of the Year Kyle Jackson's roster, hit a double and added an RBI on a sacrifice fly in his final at-bat.
The long ball helped Nashua put up big numbers in the first inning of both of its championship victories. After third baseman Lucas Stalman’s (Boston College) three-run homer powered a five-run start to Friday’s game, left fielder Dylan Jones (Franklin Pierce) hit a two-out shot to help the Silver Knights start off the clincher with a 3-0 advantage.
Matt Shaw (Maryland) was responsible for two of Worcester’s three RBI, one in each of the first two innings. He started the game with a solo home run off Nashua starter Patrick Harrington (Assumption), who wound up allowing just two hits over 4.2 innings. In the second, Shaw hit a fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop to plate another run for the Bravehearts.
For Nashua, Stalman and designated hitter Ben Rounds (Harvard) both went 2-for-4 in Saturday’s finale. Rounds hit an eighth-inning single that scored Bouchard with a key insurance run. Counting all three games, Rounds and center fielder Troy Schreffler Jr. (Maryland) finished the series with four hits apiece.
On the mound, Gabe Driscoll (Binghamton) pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief to earn the final win. Brandon Dufault (Northeastern) allowed a run-scoring single to Worcester catcher and FCBL Most Valuable Player Ben Rice (Dartmouth) in the ninth, but he struck out the side to escape a two-on jam and record a save to end the championship.
Worcester earned the 3-2 win on Thursday to move within one game of its third straight title, a feat that has not been achieved in league history. Left fielder Nick Martin (Westfield State) went 3-for-3, reached base four times and scored a run in the game, while Shaw and third baseman EJ Exposito (NYIT) both had two hits. Exposito had the winning hit in the eighth inning.
Cole Chudoba (Assumption) pitched six innings of two-run ball and fanned six during his series-opening start for the Bravehearts before lefty Shawn Babineau (Franklin Pierce) earned the win with a scoreless frame out of the bullpen.
Nashua scored all five of its Friday runs off 2019 FCBL Pitcher of the Year Angelo Baez (St. Thomas Aquinas) in the first inning, making a winner out of southpaw Nick Guarino (Clark) after he allowed just a run on five hits over six complete frames.
Shaw was Worcester’s leading hitter in the series, going 6-for-13 with two runs scored and two more driven in across the three games. Martin had four hits and two runs scored while driving in his team’s lone Friday run on a solo homer.