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The River Valley Community College Thursday Thoughts for 5/18/2023

By Pete Tarrier and Dave Haley, 05/18/23, 6:15AM EDT


Woodsville Engineers and ace Mike Hogan are a sleeper team in Division IV

 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. 

Division I 

Division I Standings & Statistical Leaders

  1. Londonderry- At 15-1 with just 3 regular season games to go the Lancers are closing in on the number 1 seed and a 1st round bye in the 15 team D1 tournament.  Londonderry will finish against Windham, Alvirne and Dover.  

  2. Exeter- The Blue Hawks are looking good to grab a Top 3 seed with 3 games to go.  Exeter stands at 12-3 with games against Manchester Central-West, Nashua North and Salem in the season’s final week.  

  3. Winnacunnet- The 12-4 Warriors have put together a heck of a season.  With 135 runs, Winnacunnet leads D1 in scoring and the pitching staff has given up the 4th fewest runs in the league with only 43 against.  Remaining games are against Timberlane, Central-West and Windham.

  4. Pinkerton- Stephen Campo’s team is 12-4 after losing in 8 innings against Portsmouth on Wednesday afternoon.  I have Pinkerton ranked behind Winnacunnet because of a head to head win in Hampton back in April.  The Astros remaining games are against Dover on Friday and then Concord, at Windham and at Timberlane next week to close the season.  

  5. Goffstown-  The 12-3 Grizzlies technically have a better record than the 2 teams just in front of them and the same record as #2 Exeter, but they’ve lost head to head to all three so I have them ranked behind those teams.  Goffstown can move up if they run the table in their final 3 games against Memorial, Merrimack and Dover.   

  6. Concord- With an 11-1 win on Wednesday against Nashua North, the Crimson Tide sit at 12-4 with 3 games to go against Spaulding, Pinkerton and Salem.  Nater Wachter has been on a tear as of late and is among the league leaders in batting average and RBIs.

  7. Portsmouth- Big win in extra innings for the Clippers in Derry against Pinkerton on Wednesday afternoon.  Portsmouth is now 11-5 with a remaining schedule that includes BG this afternoon, Timberlane and Nashua South.    

  8. Bedford- The 11-6 Bulldogs have risen from the depths of a 3-5 start by winning 6 in a row and 8 of their last 9 games.  They will finish the regular season next week with Spaulding, Trinity and Nashua North.  

  9. Bishop Guertin- The Cards are 10-7 after losing 15-3 to Goffstown on Wednesday.  BG has a HUGE game at Portsmouth today that will play a factor in seeding that could determine which team gets a home playoff game.  We will see BG on video as we are covering the game against Nashua North on Monday next week.  After that the Cardinals finish the regular season at home against Memorial.   

  10.  Nashua South-  The 9-6 Purple Panthers get the nod for the final spot in this week’s rankings edging out their rivals from across the river Nashua North.  The Titans are 8-7 in a 3-way tie with Windham and Dover.

Division II

Division II Standings & Statistical Leaders

  1. Hanover- We are excited to announce we’ll have the top-ranked 13-0 Hanover Bears on our Game of the Week coverage next Monday May 22nd when they take on rival Lebanon in a game to be played at Dartmouth College.  Hanover is one of only 2 unbeaten teams in the state along wtih D3 Monadnock.   

  2. Hollis-Brookline- After shutting out Coe-Brown on Wednesday as Zak Lussier threw a 5 inning no-hitter, the now 11-3 Cavaliers have catapulted into 2nd place.   Jack Lager, Charlie Hale and Zak Lussier split the innings on the mound for HB as they came back to win 11-9 after trailing 4 to nothing to St. Thomas on Monday in a game we covered. 

  3. St. Thomas- The Saints are 10-3 after a second straight loss, this one 5-4 against Sanborn on Wednesday.  Despite the mini losing streak by STA, there seems to be a separation between the Top 3 in D2 and the next level of teams.        

  4. Plymouth- The 9-3 Bobcats have a really tough closing stretch to the season when they will play Bow on Friday and then have games against Top 10 teams John Stark, Kennett and Kingswood next week.    

  5. Kingswood- The Knights take the 5th spot in D2 with a record of 9-4.  They’ll close the season with games against Sanborn, St. Thomas and Plymouth with a chance to move up some more.   

  6. Kennett- The Eagles are 8-7 after a 5-3 loss to Merrimack Valley on Wednesday...I’m giving them the nod ahead of Coe-Brown and Souhegan because they have more wins, but it’s only by a slim margin as half of their wins have come against D3 teams…2 wins over Berlin and 1 against Inter-Lakes, plus 2 other victories against winless D2 team Laconia.  

  7. Souhegan- The Sabers are 7-6 heading into the game today against Coe-Brown.  Coach Chris Metz’ team hosts Oyster River on Saturday and then plays Pelham and Hanover next week.  

  8. Coe-Brown- We will see the 7-6 Bears on video this evening as they take on Souhegan in our Game of the Week coverage in Amherst.  Winner of that game has a chance to move into the top 6 in the division.    

  9. John Stark- Dennis Pelletier’s Generals have righted the ship with 2 straight wins after losing 4 of 5 games and now stand at 7-6.  They will play ConVal on Friday and then finish with Plymouth and Sanborn next week.   

  10. Bow- The Falcons fly into the Top 10 after a win over Laconia on Wednesday that puts them at 7-6 with 3 games to go.  The toughest contest should be on the road Friday against Plymouth before they finish with ConVal and Pembroke next week.  

Division III

Division III Standings & Statistical Leaders

  1. Monadnock- It’s still the Huskies division until somebody knocks them off.  A 15-5 decision over a good Conant team has Monadnock at 13-0 and only 3 more wins from completing another unbeaten regular season.  

  2. Campbell- The 12-1 Cougars won the big game against Brady last week to take the 2nd spot behind Monadnock and then solidified that position with a 10-nothing whitewashing of Winnisquam on Wednesday.   

  3. Bishop Brady- It’s a fine line between the 11-1 Giants and Campbell and don’t be surprised if we see this matchup again in the tournament.  It’s unfortunate none of the top 3 teams play each other during the regular season, but it will make for an interesting playoffs.

  4. White Mountains- The Spartans from the North Country just keep on winning.  White Mountains blanked Kearsarge on Wednesday to improve to 10-2 on the season. Big one coming up next against Gilford. 

  5. Prospect Mountain- Nathan Leavitt has been really good on the mound for the 10-3 Timberwolves.  Tough test against #2 Campbell on Friday and then against Belmont on Monday before they close the season against Somersworth.

  6. Conant- The Orioles dropped to 9-4 after taking on mighty Monadnock.  The rest of the schedule is favorable for Conant as they take on Kearsarge, Hopkinton and Newport in the last 3 games.

  7. Fall Mountain- The Wildcats are are sitting at 10-3 on the season with 3 games to go.  They play Monadnock on Friday and then will face Kearsarge and Stevens next week.  

  8. Belmont- The Red Raiders stomped their rivals from Gilford 12-0 behind a strong pitching performance from Liam Waldron who struck out 10 in 6 innings and added a couple of RBIs.  Belmont is 6-5-1 with 4 games to go.   

  9. Gilford- The Golden Eagles deserve to stay in the Top 10 despite the lopsided loss to Belmont.  Gilford is 6-4-1 with their next 2 games against top 4 teams White Mountains and Monadnock.  

  10. Stevens- Coach Bill Bundy’s Cardinals grab the 10th and final spot in our poll at 7-5.  Stevens will play Hopkinton and Mascoma before wrapping up the regular season against Brady and Fall Mountain.  

  Division IV

  Division IV Standings and Statistical Leaders

 Before we get to the rankings: This division is WIDE open. There is enough front-of-the-rotation pitching where playoff games are going to come down to defense, timely hitting, and base running. Any of the top coaches would tell you that.

  1. Derryfield- I’m going to defend this in the Concord Christain section. Drew Hill’s Cougars, who needed heroics from John McDevitt, a three-run homer that put Derryfield ahead (video above) to hold off Epping 7-6 on Monday. Derryfield is 3-1 against Sunapee and Newmarket, and in the loss to Concord Christian, they did not throw either of their top two pitchers, McDevitt and Alex Comire.

  2. Littleton-  The Crusaders' only two losses of the season have come to Division III contender White Mountains. Reece Cook went six strong innings (one earned run and seven strikeouts) in a 7-1 win over Colebrook as AJ Bray’s team earned a season sweep over the Mohawks.

  3. Gorham- If the Huskies can sweep or split their two games against Colebrook and Woodsville, they should be in line for another Top 4 seed in the tournament. Gorham has good depth up & down the lineup, but like Sunapee, their two top pitchers make them a legitimate title contender. Chase Carder (3-0, a 0.40 ERA and 33 K’s) and Landyn Croteau (3-1, 0.72 ERA, and ZERO walks) are good enough to beat any team in the division.

  4. Newmarket- Stan Jurkoic’s team has figured out their pitching and reeled off eight straight wins. Graham Willerer is 4-0 with a 3.25 ERA, while John Schleider is 3-1 on the season. Offensively, Nicholas Nigro (26 RBIs), Camden Moran (23), Parker Sweitzer (20), and Alex Dyer (20) have all produced for the Mules.

  5. Sunapee- The bats have come alive for the Lakers, who have won six games in a row. Jonah Flint (.406 average and 21 RBIs), Jon Roth (.364 and 16), and Ben Gross (.500 and 12) have all been outstanding for Tom Frederick’s team.

  6. Concord Christian- Ok… this ranking seems unfair for a team that just beat Derryfield, but hear me out before you fire off the angry emails. The Kingsmen, who face Derryfield again today as I write this on Wednesday, did not face one of the Cougars' top pitchers. They also lost to a Portsmouth Christian team that was outscored by Newmarket 29-4 in two games. Concord Christian’s record against plus .500 teams this season is 2-1. If they beat Derryfield again today, I’ll be dedicating a long Mea culpa to them next week.

  7. Colebrook- Pretty tough to separate Woodsville and the Mohawks, so let’s just place them at seven and eight and see how their season-ending matchup shakes out next week. 

  8. Woodsville- The Enginers have four losses on the season, but those losses have come to Littleton (twice), Gorham, and Blue Mountain from Vermont. The win over White Mountains, and Mike Hogan’s four scoreless innings against the Spartans, tell you this is going to be a scary lower seed. These are kids who just won their third consecutive basketball title. This group knows how to compete and will think they can win no matter where they end up in the tournament. 

  9. Portsmouth Christian- The Eagles will face Derryfield twice down the stretch; those measuring stick kind of games tell you what your ceiling is as a team. When you’re discussing the best players in the division, throw Kian Littlefield’s name in the mix. Littlefield is hitting .548 with 25 RBIs and is 5-1 on the mound with a 1.67 ERA.

  10. Mascenic Regional- No team has played a more difficult schedule than the new to Division IV Vikings. Ryan O’Shea has been very good on the hill for Mascenic, going 4-0 with an ERA of 1.24.


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