Nashua Silver




McNamara Walks off Heated Battle, Knights Win Five in a Row

Photo: Kailey Lane/Nashua Silver Knights

In the Futures League, a player usually looks for their first hit just so they can kick off their season on the right foot. For Shane McNamara, the stakes were a lot higher.

Eastern Nazarene’s Shane McNamara walked off a tension raising, back and forth battle for the Silver Knights against Pittsfield to secure their fifth straight victory. McNamara, who missed just over a month of the season due to injury, was asked to grab a bat and pinch hit in the ninth with Nashua down 4-3. With runners on first and second with one out, the Londonderry product drove a ball to deep right field and the rest was history.

A muggy, early July afternoon was the setting for the Silver Knight’s fourth meeting with the Pittsfield Suns. Coming off a massive two game sweep in Vermont, Nashua sent one of their top arms in Tulane’s Jonah Wachter to the bump. With a win streak on the line and NESN in the house, an exciting afternoon was in store inside Historic Holman Stadium.

Nashua didn’t waste time showing out for regional television, scoring early in the first. Boston College’s Kyle Wolff, coming off back-to-back three hit games including a two-homer night, kept his bat hot with a two out double. Vanderbilt’s Ray Velazquez followed Wolff, squeaking out a single out of the infield to bring Wolff home for the early 1-0 Nashua lead.

After the quick Nashua strike, both offenses had trouble putting up numbers. Jonah Wachter did what Jonah Wachter does, striking out six with no earned runs in his fifth start of 2022.

Despite Wachter’s electric stuff on the mound, it looked like Nashua’s defense left their gloves up in Vermont. Four errors in the ballgame plagued the Knights chances, with two costly errors bringing home a Pittsfield run to tie the game 1-1.

Pittsfield starter Andrew Gieger had a solid outing for the Suns, striking out six with only one earned run in five innings pitched. But when Geiger was taken out of the ballgame, things started to get wild.

Leading off the inning, Kyle Wolff posted another double as his flaming hot bat almost turned Holman Stadium into scorched earth. After the Wolff double, things started to unravel for Pittsfield with several walks and bean balls. Turning the base paths into crosswalks, Nashua brought home two runs on walks to take back the lead 3-1. However, a questionable call by the home plate umpire cost Nashua their fourth run with manager Kyle Jackson getting the hook after he “expressed his feelings” towards the umpire crew.

It was smooth sailing for the Knights until rocky waters began to hit in the eighth. A walk and a double set up second and third with no outs for the Suns, with Plymouth State’s LT Pare coming in to help save the Knights. A strikeout and a groundout to bring a run home made it look like Nashua would escape the eighth with their lead intact. But a screaming line drive by MCLA’s Austin Rachiele just passed the glove of Pare and peeked through the infield for an RBI single.

UMBC’s Derek Paris now came up in a big spot, with a runner now in scoring position with Rachiele stealing second. Paris delivered, singling to right field to bring home Rachiele with Pittsfield now up 4-3. In a snap, Nashua now was behind.

With nothing cooking in the eighth, all eyes were on the bottom of the ninth with Nashua’s 2-3-4 hitters coming up. After a quick first out, who else but Kyle Wolff hit a hard single to left to get the tying run aboard. Following Wolff’s four hits in the third spot, Vanderbilt’s Ray Velazquez had himself a day with two hits and an RBI hitting cleanup. Velazquez wouldn’t stop at that stat line, singling after Wolff to set up first and second with one out.

With a prime opportunity in front of them, Nashua turned to Eastern Nazarene’s Shane McNamara to be the potential hero. Playing just his seventh game of the year, his first hit could not come at a better time.

McNamara and Pittsfield’s closer Ian Donahue battled in the at bat, with Shane working the count full. On the seventh pitch of the at bat, McNamara roped a ball towards the right field wall. With all of Holman thinking the ball was gone, the ball just stayed in the ballpark and bounced off the top of the wall. With Pittsfield not being able to gather it in, Wolff and Velazquez came around to score as McNamara’s two RBI double earned Nashua the walk off win.

In dramatic fashion, the Knights earned their fifth win in a row. Nashua now sits at 15-17, inching closer to the playoff picture and approaching a .500 record. Now trying to get to six straight, the Silver Knights will take on the Norwich Sea Unicorns at Holman Stadium on Sunday. First pitch is at 3:00 PM.