Nashua Silver




O'Connor Walks It Off

Thursday, June 15, 2023

By: Dan Allison | Silver Knights media relations

Brockton lined the third base line with high fives, with the Holman faithful stunned. A three-run inside-the-park home run marked the scoreboard with a four-spot in the third inning, making Thursday’s contest seem like another ballgame out of the Knights' grasp. However, just a few innings later, the game would be anything but.

Once down 6-1, Nashua stormed back for a dramatic 8-7 walk-off win for their second win in a row. A three-run eighth and a tying run in the ninth kept the Knights in the game, with St. Thomas Aquinas’s Nick O’Connor doing the finishing touches with a walk-off RBI single.

Brockton was hot from the start, posting runs in the first three innings to pin Nashua in a hole. Self-inflicted errors and free passes on the bases paths set Nashua up for trouble, with RBI sacrifices in the first and second.

Trying to keep up with the hot Rox, Eastern Nazarene’s Shane McNamara smoked his second solo home run of the year in the first. After the second, it was 2-1 Brockton.

Trading blows back and forth, Brockton would make a statement with a four-run third inning. UMass Lowell’s Sean O’Leary careened a ball towards the right field triangle, tangling up McNamara right on the wall. O’Leary would capitalize on the ricochet with a three-RBI inside the park home run. To add insult to injury, Dayton’s Jack Fitzgerald blasted a solo homer off the left-field advertisements. In just two quick at-bats, Brockton now had a 6-1 lead.

Nashua now had to try and dig themselves out of the rut as an offense that had rarely posted five runs in most of their ballgames would now have to try and do so just to tie.

 In the fourth, the slow climb started with Mount St. Marys’s Shane Wockley hitting his third home run in as many games. Some walks and Brockton miscues led to another Nashua run coming across, as the score now sat at 6-3.

After an offensive onslaught from both teams, the game turned into a pitching duel of the bullpens. Anna Maria’s Anthony Pingeton and Northeastern’s Michael Gemma both held it down on the bump, throwing five and ⅔ with eight strikeouts combined. 

Heading into the eighth, time was running out for Nashua. Colby’s Brady O’Brien started things off with a leadoff single, followed by Wockley following suit with a base knock as well. With runners on first and second, Amherst’s Jack McDermott was due up. In McDermott fashion, the 2022 postseason MVP smoked a clutch two-RBI triple to bring the Holman crowd back into it.

90 feet away from the tying run, Vanderbilt’s Cam Kozeal delivered behind McDermott with a bounding ball over first base for an RBI single. In a theatrical display of clutch hitting, the Knights now found themselves tied.

SNHU’s George Welch came in the top of the ninth to try and keep the game at a standstill after a Gemma hit by pitch gave Brockton a leadoff runner. Central CT’s Gabe Pitts stole his way around the bases, eventually coming home on a Welch passed ball. From a cheerful crowd to a stunned one, the Rox were back up 7-6.

Nashua would need to muster up one last magic inning, and it started with a walk from McNamara. As the hopes of the Knights rose back up, now entered: Shane Wockley.

In a similar fashion to his 4-4 day two days ago, Wockley laced another double down the first base line that brought McNamara home. Brockton began to scramble, as they then walked the bases loaded. 

O’Connor, once a pinch hitter in the ballgame, now stepped in for his third at bat. After going 0-2, Nick wasted no time punching in his signature Nashua moment with a deep drive over the head of the right fielder to bring home Wockley and complete the storybook ending.

Now in high spirits after a walk-off win and two wins in a row, Nashua will head back on the road on Friday. Westfield will welcome in the Silver Knights for a 6:30 PM first pitch.