NASHUA, N.H. (August 11, 2022) -- For the third time in as many years, the Futures League championship will come down to a deciding third game.
Second baseman Jack McDermott (Amherst) crushed a walk-off double to deep center to propel the Nashua Silver Knights to a 6-5 win over the top-seeded and defending champion Vermont Lake Monsters in Thursday night's Game Two of the Futures League Championship Series at Historic Holman Stadium.
The two teams will return to Centennial Field at 6:35 p.m. Friday to contest the finale. The Lake Monsters faced the same situation as they beat the Pittsfield Suns in 2021, capping their first summer in the league with a championship.
McDermott went 2-for-5 and vaulted Nashua with his second RBI in the form of shortstop Brady Desjardins (Niagara), who sent a two-out single into left and scored the winning run from second after third baseman Brady O'Brien (Colby) walked.
Two more of Nashua's eight hits belonged to Shane McNamara (Eastern Nazarene) as he finished a 2-for-4 night with a double, RBI and run scored of his own.
Nashua clawed back from a 4-0 deficit with single runs in the fourth and sixth before taking its first lead with a three-run seventh.
Catcher Greg Bozzo (Northeastern) jumpstarted the initial go-ahead frame with a one-out single to right. After Desjardins walked, Bozzo advanced to second on a wild pitch and third as O'Brien reached on an error. McDermott's RBI grounder tied the game at 4-4, while O'Brien scampered home with the go-ahead run on another one of Vermont reliever Liam Reiner's (St. Lawrence) wild pitches.
After Nashua reliever Will Andrews (Wake Forest) and Vermont counterpart Oliver Pudvar (Manhattan) matched scoreless frames in the eighth, the Lake Monsters jumped back ahead in the top half of the ninth. Vermont had been held scoreless and without a hit for the previous three innings.
Left fielder Harrison Didawick (Virginia) laced a leadoff double into the left-field corner and got to third on shortstop Cooper Kelly's (Kansas) sacrifice bunt. Second baseman Tommy Martin (Yale) knubbed a single between Andrews and Bozzo in front of home plate, allowing Didawick to cross the plate.
The Silver Knights made their winning push against Futures League Relief Pitcher of the Year and all-time appearances leader George Goldstein (Middlebury), who was throwing for the first time in the playoffs after leading the circuit with 11 saves during the Lake Monsters' historic regular season.
In the first inning, Vermont got the scoring started quickly as it drew back-to-back walks against Nashua starter Brock Pare (Salem State) on nine pitches. First baseman Brian Schaub's (Trinity) sac fly and designated hitter Colby Brouillette's (Clarkson) two-out single put the Monsters in front.
Catcher Gio Cueto (Wake Forest) and Kelly logged third-inning hits to extend the Vermont lead to 4-0 before the hosts started on the comeback trail. McNamara got Nashua on the board in the fourth, scoring on right fielder Jack Toomey's (Holy Cross) fielder's choice following a one-out single.
After Vermont starter Nick Berger (Rollins) was relieved in the sixth, Nashua immediately made it a 4-2 game as McNamara's double to left brought home designated hitter Kyle Wolff (Boston College).
Nashua's first two arms lasted just 2.2 innings combined, but Alex Messig (Assumption) turned in a stellar performance in just his third appearance of the summer. The Nashua native allowed just one hit and fanned four in 4.2 innings.
From there, Andrews earned the win with three strikeouts over the final 1.2. Despite allowing Vermont to jump ahead, he stranded the go-ahead run in scoring position with two of those K's.
Vermont got a pair of hits from both Martin and Cueto. The loss was the first placed on Goldstein's record since July 4.