NASHUA, NH – In a battle of two teams in search of a fifth FCBL Championship, the Nashua Silver Knights emerge as 5-3 winners over the Worcester Bravehearts in the winner-take-all Game Three of the league championship series Saturday night.
Nashua can open the trophy case for the first time since 2017 and add new hardware to the shelf as the 2020 trophy joins the 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017 trophies. The loss breaks Worcester’s streak as back-to-back champions from the previous two summers, but the Bravehearts have still qualified for the championship series each year since the team’s inception in 2014.
Nashua put itself in a good position early with a three spot in the first inning thanks to a Dylan Jones’ three-run blast to left field off of Jack Steele (UMass Amherst). The Silver Knights tacked on insurance runs later in the game. Ben Rounds hit an opposite field RBI single in the seventh inning, and Kyle Bouchard – the Championship Series MVP – brought home another run in the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly.
Bouchard finishes the series with five hits, which includes his game-tying two-run homerun in Game One. He knocked in five runs in three games.
Matt Shaw (Maryland) was the series star for the Bravehearts with a .462 batting average, a homerun, two runs batted in, and two runs scored. It was Shaw’s leadoff homerun in the bottom of the first in Game Three that gave Worcester life after Nashua’s three run top of the inning. It was Shaw’s fifth leadoff homerun and his ninth overall in just 14 games with the Bravehearts. Shaw drove in another run with a fielder’s choice groundout in the second inning to make it a 3-2 score.
The Bravehearts made the game interesting in the ninth inning by bringing the winning run to the plate, but Tyler Patane (Franklin Pierce) struck out versus Brandon Dufault to end the game. Ben Rice (Dartmouth) hit a single to score Chad Shade (Springfield), but despite the comeback attempt the game-ending strikeout left runners on the corners.
Worcester finished the regular season atop the FCBL standings with a record of 23-15 to earn “homefield advantage” in the Championship Series even though all three games were played at Holman Stadium in Nashua.
This is the first time the winner of Game One of the FCBL Championship series has lost the series. Nashua’s championship win gives them the most FCBL Championships in the league’s ten-year history, one more than Worcester’s four titles. The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, now of the NECBL, have the only other FCBL Championship from 2013 in addition to the co-championship with Worcester in 2018