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 Nashua Community College!
Note: The D4 portion of this column was written before Wednesday afternoon's games.
Londonderry- The now 11-1 Lancers continue to roll right along and are still the team to beat. The strength of the team is their outstanding starting pitching with Connor Fennell, Mike Crowley and Kevin Rourke getting them deep into, if not completing almost every game. Through twelve games their team ERA is a microscopic 0.86 with only 10 earned runs allowed and 104 strikeouts in 81 innings pitched.
Portsmouth- The Clippers move into the 2nd spot in our rankings at 10-2 after they beat Dover on Wednesday and just ahead of Exeter based on a head to head 7-1 victory last week. Portsmouth has a tough road game at Goffstown today before hosting Keene on Friday before a showdown with Londonderry on Monday.
Exeter- At 11-2, we are excited to be covering the Blue Hawks on video for the first time this season when they take on Bedford on Friday. Cam Keaveney and Cam Piwnicki have combined for 5 wins on the mound for Exeter, while Hayden Schimoler has been a spark plug on offense at the top of the order.
Pinkerton- The Astros get top 4 recognition at 9-3 because of their resume which includes wins over contenders BG, Goffstown and Bedford, plus 1 run defeats against Londonderry and Winnacunnet.
Concord- After beating Manchester Memorial on Wednesday this week, Scott Owen’s team is 10 and 3. People have been asking me how on earth the Tide got beat 15-4 against Keene last week, but the thought here is that game was an outlier. We’ll see as Concord has a tough next 3 games at Goffstown Friday, at BG Monday and then Nashua North at Memorial Field next Wednesday.
Goffstown- We are going to get a much better read on just how good the 9-2 Grizzlies really are over the next few days. Goffstown’s schedule hasn’t been the toughest so far, but Portsmouth comes to town today in a game that is being played at St. Anselm College. Then on Friday it’s Concord and on Monday Will Perkowski, Ryan Strand and company play Winnacunnet.
Winnacunnet- Speaking of the Warriors, they have lost 2 of their last 3 games to slip to 9 and 4. The good news is both of those losses were against good teams and both were very close games, 3-1 at BG on Tuesday and 4-3 on a walkoff against Exeter last Friday.
BG- The 9-5 Cards just played 6 games in the last 7 days and went 4-2 with the only losses a 3-2 game against Londonderry last week and an 8-1 setback to Pinkerton yesterday. If that’s not tough enough, BG’s next 5 games are all against teams above .500 with Nashua South, Concord, Goffstown, Portsmouth and Nashua North on the horizon.
Nashua North- Good to see All-State performer Derek Finlay back in the lineup for coach Zach Harris and the 7-5 Titans last week against Nashua South. Finlay missed the 1st month recovering from off-season surgery. He ripped 3 doubles in his debut and is a difference maker that instantly gives Nashua North one of the best players in New Hampshire.
Nashua South- My Purple Panthers(Class of 1988) reeled off 6 wins in a row after an 0-3 start and now sit at 7-5 on the season. They grab the 10th and last spot in our rankings just edging out the Windham Jaguars who have lost 3 of their last 4 and trending in the opposite direction.
Hanover- Coach John Grainger’s team picked up a marquee win last Friday beating Hollis-Brookline. Hanover is the only unbeaten team in the division at 9-0 and has rocketed into the top spot in D2. The Bears take on Merrimack Valley today and then will play tough games against Coe-Brown on Friday and then at Plymouth on Monday in a game we are still trying to find a videographer to cover.
St. Thomas- The 9-1 Saints got by Oyster River 8-7 on Wednesday and will play a surging Souhegan team on Friday in Amherst ahead of another bigtime matchup on Monday against Hollis-Brookline, a game we will have video coverage of with Jay Manzi and Austin Grass heading to Dover.
Plymouth- The Bobcats only loss of the season came on April 26th in Northwood, a 3-2 setback to Coe-Brown. Plymouth plays at Pembroke Friday and then hosts Kingswood on Saturday morning in a game where they will honor the late, great Tom Underwood with a ceremony for the former coach who passed away after 43 years with the team.
Hollis-Brookline- Zak Lussier threw a 1 hit shutout against Pelham in a 13-0 Cavs win on Wednesday helping his team bounce back from consecutive losses to Hanover and Souhegan. HB plays their next 3 games on the road at Lebanon on Friday, at St. Thomas where we will have our video camera on Monday and then Coe-Brown next Wednesday.
Coe-Brown- The 7-4 Bears have stumbled a bit in last week with a pair of shutout losses, but they’ve still done enough to stay in the Top 5. Can they stay there is the question as the next three games are at Hanover, home against Hollis-Brookline and then on the road against Souhegan in a game we will have video coverage of on May 18th.
Kingswood- The Knights jump into the poll with a record of 6-3. They’ve already beaten Kennett twice and have another quality win vs John Stark. Even in their losses they’ve been very competitive losing three games by a total of 4 runs.
Souhegan- Don’t look now, but the once 2-5 Sabers have ripped off 4 straight wins to get over the .500 mark at 6-5. The Souhegan pitching has been tremendous over the last 6 games allowing a total of 6 runs in that span. Big one on Friday in Amherst vs St. Thomas.
Oyster River- The Bobcats are one of a pair of 5-5 teams and they got the nod ahead of John Stark thanks to a slightly better resume that includes 2 wins over their rivals Coe-Brown, plus wins over Bow and Milford.
John Stark- Also 5-5 on the season, the Generals get a much needed day off today before trekking up to Conway for a game against Kennett on Friday and then playing at Bow on Saturday in a game we will have covered on video with myself and Ian Melewski in the house.
Bow- Those Falcons are 5-4 right now, and after taking on Kingswood Friday and John Stark on Saturday, the schedule eases up a bit with games against Merrimack Valley, Laconia, ConVal and Pembroke down the stretch, plus a tough one against Plymouth.
Monadnock- The Huskies are now 10-0 and have won 35 games in a row dating back to the 2021 season. They’ve outscored opponents 148 to 19. Cam Olivo is hitting .680 with 5 home runs and 20 RBI, playing mostly 5 inning games.
Bishop Brady- I finally moved The Giants ahead of Campbell and into the 2nd spot in these rankings this week. Brady is now 8-0 and owns a 5-3 win over Campbell early in the season. Those 2 teams will meet again tomorrow in a game that could eventually decide the #2 seed.
Campbell- I hate to drop the Cougars down even though they are still cruising along with a 9 game winning streak and a 10-1 record, but I can’t look past the head to head win by Brady. We hope to cover the Campbell game at Winnisquam next week on video.
Prospect Mountain- The Timberwolves are 7-3 and I have them ahead of Belmont, but just barely because they beat the Red Raiders 6-5 head to head just yesterday. Other than that, the best wins Prospect has this year is actually 2 wins over Inter-Lakes.
Belmont- I’m placing the 5-3-1 Red Raiders where I think they belong, in the Top 5 ahead of a few teams with better records right now. Here’s why. I think the Lakes Region teams are very strong this year and those teams are beating up on each other.
White Mountains- The Spartans from the North Country check in at 7-2 after another strong pitching performance from Robert Breault on Tuedsay against Berlin. Good win last Saturday vs previously unbeaten D4 power Littleton. Not so good loss on Monday against Woodsville, but I will keep them ahead of the next team because of their win over Belmont.
Conant- The Orioles are 7-2 as well. I have White Mountains ranked just a bit higher because I think their best win(Belmont) is more impressive than Conant’s best win(Inter-Lakes). One of the 2 Orioles losses came to Monadnock so there’s no shame in that. Key matchup on Monday vs Winnisquam for Aric LeClair’s team.
Fall Mountain- The Wildcats have won 5 of their last 6 to improve to 7-3 on the season. Their next 3 are against 1 win teams Newport and Mascoma and then D4 Hinsdale so there’s a chance they could already have 10 wins before having to face Monadnock next Friday.
Gilford- Remember what I said about the Lakes Region teams and how they are beating up on each other? The 4-3-1 Golden Eagles are the perfect example. Gilford has split 2 games with Winnisquam and tied Belmont 8-8 on Opening Day. Those 2 teams will play again next Wednesday.
Winnisquam- Gilford jumped ahead of the Bears thanks to an 11-4 win over Winnisquam in Gilford on Wednesday. That was payback for when Winnisquam walked-off the Golden Eagles in Cooperstown a couple weeks ago.
Derryfield- John McDevitt was outstanding in an extra-innings win over Sunapee, throwing seven shutout innings. He and Alex Comire (two scoreless innings in relief to earn the win) helped lead the Cougars to a 1-0 win over the defending champions and a season sweep of their two games.
Littleton- The Crusaders earned their biggest win of the season, 4-3, over Gorham last week, as Reece Cook and JP Perez combined to go eight innings in the victory.
Gorham- The Huskies bounced back from their first loss of the season to beat Colebrook 5-2 behind a Landyn Croteau complete game (13 k’s and zero walks) victory. Chase Carder has led the way at the plate, hitting .500 (12 for 24) and knocking in 13 runs.
Sunapee- The champs have averaged 14.7 runs per game in their seven wins but only could score four runs in two games against Derryfield. On Friday, they get another good test when they travel to play Mascenic Regional.
Newmarket- The Mules have won five in a row and are again rounding into title-contending form. Nicholas Nigro (20) and Camden Moran (18) both rank in the top five RBI leaders in the division.
Concord Christian- The Kingsmen are undefeated heading into their two toughest games of the season; at Derryfield and at Portsmouth Christian.
Colebrook- The Mohawks' only two losses of the season have been competitive/close games with the #2 and #3 teams on this list..still…they need a marque win, and Friday, they get an opportunity to earn one when they travel to Littleton for a rematch with AJ Bray’s team.
Woodsville- The Engineers earned an impressive 13-8 win over Division III power White Mountains as Mike Hogan was terrific in relief, striking out nine batters in four innings. Jack Boudreault went 2 for 2 in the win, while Hogan added two hits, and Jacob Putnam had a pair of RBIs.
Portsmouth Christian- The surprise team in the division picked up an impressive 4-0 win over Epping as Kian Littlefield went three for three at the plate and pitched seven scoreless innings for Derek Summers’ team.
Mascenic Regional- The Vikings have lost two of three and square off with Sunapee on Friday afternoon. Quinn Krook leads Division IV in hitting with eleven hits in fifteen at bats.