For the past fifteen years, we have broken down all four divisions every Thursday, and today, we rank the Top 10 contenders in each.
Pete Tarrier will break down Divisions I, II & III weekly, while Dave Haley will rank the contenders in Division IV.
Our column today is brought to you by our great friends and partners at York County Community College!
Note: The D4 portion of this column was written before Wednesday afternoon's games.
The big theme as we rank our teams this week is the amount of rainouts and subsequent make up games we have had so far. Many teams will be playing 4 and sometimes 5 games a week to catch up.
Londonderry- The Lancers remain atop the standings and our rankings with a record of 8-1 following a 3-0 win over Nashua North on Wednesday. It’s a tough stretch of games right now for Londonderry who will play BG at Holman Stadium on Friday night and then Pinkerton in Derry on Saturday afternoon.
Concord- At 8-2, the Crimson Tide have already played more than half their regular season games and are pushing for a potential Top 4 seed.
Winnacunnet- The Warriors have quietly snuck up into the Top 3 with a record of 8-2 after they beat Salem on Wednesday. They get the nod over 7-2 Pinkerton who Winnacunnet beat head to head a couple weeks ago.
Pinkerton- We are very excited to cover the defending champion Astros on video for the first time this season as they host their rivals from Londonderry Saturday at 1pm. If Pinkerton wins should they take the top spot in next week’s rankings?
Portsmouth- The Clippers check in at 7-2 and take the fifth spot ahead of 8-2 Exeter by virtue of a head to head 7-1 victory in their meeting earlier this week. Portsmouth’s game with Goffstown on Wednesday this week was rained out and has yet to be rescheduled.
Exeter- Bruce Joyce’s team keeps trucking along through 10 games and got a strong 6 inning pitching performance from George Young vs Dover in a 10-0 win. The Blue Hawks take on Winnacunnet on Friday in what should be a great game.
Goffstown- Once again the depth at the top of this division really shows when you have a 6-2 Grizzlies team all the way down at number 7. My friends in town might think they should be placed higher, but who ahead of them shouldn’t be? Rainouts have pushed back some key games for the Grizzlies who will have to make up games against Concord, Winnacunnet and Portsmouth.
Nashua South- After an 0-3 start the Purple Panthers have reeled off 6 consecutive wins and are sitting at 6-3. Unfortunately we are no longer able to cover the Battle of the Bridge game vs Nashua North at Holman Stadium on Friday night.
Bishop Guertin- The 5-3 Cards have yet to play a game this week and have been off since last Friday. They have lost 2 games in a row after a 5-1 start. Now they have to play Trinity, Londonderry and Merrimack back to back to back today through Saturday.
Windham- The Jaguars grab the last spot in our Top 10 with a record of 6-3 edging out 5-4 Nashua North. Windham plays Alvirne today, Portsmouth tomorrow and Exeter and Manchester Central-West next week.
St. Thomas- The 7-1 Saints lost 8-7 on a walk-off on a wild pitch at Pelham on Wednesday, but I’m leaving them in the top spot for this week because of their body of work so far. St. Thomas has a tough game on Friday as they travel to Weare to take on John Stark.
Hollis-Brookline- The Cavs have bounced back with a pair of wins following their first loss of the season, a 2-1 setback to John Stark. Alex Razzaboni, Charlie Hale and Zak Lussier have led the way for the now 7-1 Cavaliers.
Hanover- Coach John Grainger’s team is 5-0 and I have them slotted behind St. Thomas and HB because they simply haven’t played or won enough games yet for me to declare them #1. The Bears have to play Hollis-Brookline on Friday in Hollis in what should be a very good pitching matchup no matter who starts for either team.
Plymouth- Johnny Flaherty keeps mowing ‘em down for the 6-1 Bobcats! Flaherty has won all 4 of his starts so far with a 1.12 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 25 innings. The hope here is that he is pitching when we take the video camera to Plymouth for the game against Hanover on May 15th.
John Stark- How about this stretch of games for the Generals over the next week because of multiple rain outs to make up…Dennis Pelletier’s team hosts St. Thomas on Friday, Hanover Monday and Laconia on Tuesday, then travels to Lebanon Wednesday, Kennett on Friday and then Bow on Saturday May 13th in a game we are covering on video.
Coe-Brown- Tommy Flanagan has been really good both on the mound and with the bat for Coe-Brown. The Bears handed Plymouth their only loss of the season so far and seem to have established themselves in the Top 6 teams in the division.
Pelham- Some people may raise an eyebrow when they see a 4-5 Pythons teams in the Top 10 ahead of some .500 teams, but a victory over previously unbeaten St. Thomas vaults Pelham into the rankings. The Pythons have also played a really tough schedule compared to the teams ranked just below them.
Oyster River- The Bobcats are 3-3 and have some pretty good wins to get them to the .500 mark thanks to beating Milford, Bow and Coe-Brown. They also have a “good” loss if you believe in that type of thing, a 7-6 setback to St. Thomas.
Bow- The Falcons are also 3-3 and played STA tough, but lost to them on a walk-off of their own last week. Ben Forbes’ team has a chance to move past Pelham in the rankings when they play each other on Friday.
Milford- The Spartans get my vote for the final spot in the division's Top 10. At 3-3 their resume isn’t super strong to be much higher with the wins coming against sub .500 teams ConVal, Souhegan and Sanborn.
Monadnock- We are hoping to get our first look at the 7-0 Huskies in Swanzey for our Game of the Week coverage against Gilford this afternoon. This is of course weather permitting. The good news for the rest of D3 is Monadnock was actually scored upon in their last 2 games after 5 shutouts to start the season.
Campbell- The Cougars built an early lead and then had to hold on against Somersworth on a cold and wet afternoon yesterday to improve to 7-1. Logan Daigle had another strong pitching performance.
Bishop Brady- The Giants have still only played 4 games, but they’ve won them all outscoring opponents 46-7. Brady will play Hopkinton today and Fall Mountain tomorrow.
Belmont- The Red Raiders had a long layoff with no games since April 21st, but they picked up an 11-1 win over Inter-Lakes yesterday to improve to 4-1-1 on the season. Berlin is next on the schedule Friday before big ones next week against Winnisquam and Prospect Mountain.
White Mountains- The 4-1 Spartans rallied late to beat IL on Tuesday. Newfound is up next before a trio of North Country games against D4 Littleton and Woodsville followed by a meeting with Berlin.
Winnisquam- The Bears are also 4-1 and lost head to head when they played White Mountains on April 21st. There’s a lot of games coming up for Winnasquam over the next week with Berlin, Newfound, Belmont, Gilford and White Mountains on the schedule between now and next Friday.
Gilford- The Golden Eagles are 3-2-1 and have a golden opportunity to snap Monadnock’s lengthy winning streak that dates back to the 2021 season if the game is actually played this afternoon. We’ll be there with Ben Conant’s video camera to bring you the highlights if it is.
Conant- The 4-2 Orioles were rained out against Monadnock, but they’ve won 3 games in a row to jump into our Top 10 and have some seemingly winnable games coming up on the schedule.
Prospect Mountain- The Timberwolves are winners of 4 straight games and are sitting at 5-2 nearing the halfway point of the season. Prospect’s only 2 losses so far have come against the only unbeaten teams in D3, Monadnock and Bishop Brady.
Fall Mountain- Seems appropriate to me that I have Fall Mountain capping the Top 10 as I write this on the 20 year anniversary of the falling of the famous New Hampshire icon the Old Man of the Mountain. The Wildcats are 4-2 and looking to keep themselves in playoff position.
1. Derryfield- I'm keeping them in the top spot, even with their 12-7 loss to Newmarket (in a game we covered). Here is the reasoning behind it; I don't see any team in this division going undefeated, and their body of work is still very strong. The Cougars own wins over Newmarket, Mascenic Regional, Hinsdale, Epping, and defending champion Sunapee.
2. Gorham- One of the Huskies' strengths is their pitching depth..and they will need it. Pete Girouard’s team is scheduled to play six games in twelve days as they make up games and catch up to the pack. Good to see Kody Lemieux getting some at-bats as he works his back from an injury.
3. Sunapee- The champs dropped an 8-4 decision to Derryfield but still feature enough starting pitching depth to be the last team standing again. At the plate, Jonah Flint is hitting .429 and has batted in a team-high thirteen runs, while Ben Gross is batting .467 with eight runs knocked in.
4. Littleton- It was a good trip to Cooperstown for the Crusaders, who earned wins over Woodsville (15-8) and Colebrook (9-7). Reece Cook gave AJ Bray’s team five strong innings on the hill against the Engineers, while JP Perez struck out seven in 3 ½ innings against Colebrook.
5. Colebrook- The schedule gives them an opportunity to go on a winning streak before they face title contenders Gorham and Littleton back to back next week. Look for Tim Purrington to use his best two pitchers Liam Shaw and Kolten Dowse against the top teams in the division, as he did in Cooperstown against Littleton.
6. Newmarket- The Mules make the biggest leap up the rankings after their win over Derryfield. Alex Dyer, Nicholas Nigro and Camden Moran all had a pair of hits while Graham Willerer earned a gritty-gutty (9 K's no walks) win on the mound.
7. Mascenic Regional- Derryfield got to ace Joe Cocozella (9 runs in 5 innings) on Monday and the Vikings will now play six of their last nine games on the road. Quinn Krook went 3 for 3 in the loss to the Cougars.
8. Concord Christian- The Kingsmen have been off for two weeks and next play Wilton Lyndeborough and Franklin on the road.
9. Woodsville- The Engineers dropped a 14-8 decision to Littleton in Cooperstown as Jackson Horne surrendered seven runs in three innings. Freshman Ryan Walker has been a bright spot all season and had three hits against the Crusaders.
10. Portsmouth Christian- Somebody break up the Eagles!!! Derek Summers’ team won their fifth game in a row on Monday, 20-2 over Pittsfield. Kai Summers (2-0) got the win on the mound while Kian Littlefield and Landon Hasty combined for eight runs batted in.