skip navigation

The Kevin Shaw at Roche Realty Thursday Thoughts for 5/25/2023

By Pete Tarrier and Dave Haley, 05/25/23, 6:15AM EDT


Matt Becker led Stevens to a win over Mascoma (photo by Wayne McElreavy)

We mix it up a bit in our final Thursday Thoughts column of the 2022-23 school year.

 Pete Tarrier will tell you who he sees as the true title contenders, final four level teams and his dark horse team in Division I, II and III while Dave Haley will do the same for Division IV.

 Our column is brought to you by our longtime Lakes Region partner Kevin Shaw at Roche Realty!

Division I

  Division I Standings and Statistical Leaders

 The Title Contenders (the teams I can see being the last team standing):

Londonderry, Goffstown, Exeter, Pinkerton, Winnacunnet and Concord

It’s a deep field of contenders in Division 1, but it’s pretty clear after following up a number one preseason ranking with a dominating regular season the Londonderry Lancers are a true title contender.  The starting pitching has been as good as expected with Connor Fennell, Kevin Rourke and Mike Crowley leading a staff with a team ERA under 1 complimented by an offense that is hitting .345. 

Goffstown has a true ace on the mound in Will Perkowski(1.73 ERA with 57 Ks) and he just happens to also be leading D1 in batting average.  But the Grizzlies are much more than a one man show.  The lineup is dangerous with Logan Simmons(.333) and Braeden Lambert(.429) getting on base in front of Perkowski(.510, 22 RBI), Ryan Strand(.388, 21 RBI) and Noah Durham(.375, 19 RBI).  Not many teams have a 9th hitter like Jake Webber who is hitting .360.  

Exeter has rode strong pitching all season long into one of the top 3 seeds.  Sophomore Cam Piwnicki may have a tough name to pronounce(it’s Piv-Nicky), but his right arm has been equally confusing to opposing teams who in 30 innings has allowed only 18 hits, a .070 ERA and a .170 batting average against.  George Young has thrown 32 innings, has a 1.09 ERA and hitters are only .175 against him.  Cam Keaveney and Jacob Brown have also come up big on the mound.  The question for the Blue Hawks is on offense as they are the lowest scoring of this group of contenders.

The next two teams, Pinkerton and Winnacunnet are similar in that they both have 2 dominant starting pitchers, Garrett Hammer and Casey Watson for the Astros and Jason Pinsonnault and Ethan Nowak for the Warriors complimenting big time offenses capable of hitting other teams’ good pitching.  The top of the orders on both teams are formidable with Pinkerton lining up Jacob Albert, Brendan Horne, Jackson Marshall, Lorenzo Corsetto and Matt Barbuto 1 thru 5 and Winnacunnet sending up Nowak, Miles Pratt, Jackson Larck, Jake Fredericks and Evan Gaffney against you.  

I have Concord as a team capable of winning it all because they have 2 great players, Brooks Craigue and Nater Wachter, both of whom are experienced seniors that have won a title before.  Craigue is just a winner and his 3-0 shutout of Londonderry back in April is the only loss the Lancers have had all year.  Matt Drewes gives the Tide a second shut down pitcher and Wachter is as feared a hitter as you’ll see.  

The Final Four Contenders (capable of winning a couple of tournament games):

Portsmouth, Bedford and Bishop Guertin 

You can never count out the Portsmouth Clippers.  Tim Hopley’s team has some really good wins this year over BG, Bedford, Exeter and Pinkerton.  Matt Minckler, Boden Driscoll and Jake Carlisle provide quality starting pitching and the offense led by Minckler, Elliot Miles and Carlisle(2 multi-HR games in the last week) can put up runs.

Is there a hotter team than Bedford?  Up until a surprising loss to Spaulding on Monday the Bulldogs had ripped off wins in 8 of their last 9 games to rise from the depths of a 3 and 5 start.  Aiden O’Connell is as good as any pitcher out there and Charlie Cariello offers a very solid number 2.  

Bishop Guertin has had a rough stretch losing 5 of 6 against the top competition in the division over the last week or so.  But there’s not a coach in D1 that wants to see BG on the other side of the bracket.  The Cards suffered a big loss when Jake Boudreau was lost for the season due to injury.  Scott Painter has given the opportunity to talented sophomore AJ Holmes who struck out the 1st 7 Nashua North batters he faced the other night and went 5 no hit innings with 11 K.  The offense has been steady with Luke Anderson, Dom Monico, Jackson Goldstein and Isaac Crivac leading the way.   

 The Dark Horse Teams (the lower-seeded teams that…on the right day…could upset a high seed):

 Keene and Windham

I’m putting 2 dark horses out there…first the Keene Blackbirds who have the combo of powerful pitching trio Jack Riendeau, Zak Whitney and Gavin Rigby and the hitting of Riendeau, Whitney, Brock Haynes and Cal Tiani that scares the bejesus out of people.  Windham won a game over Concord last year as a double digit seed and they have the talent to do it again with a lineup of 7 guys boasting better than .300 batting averages…Cole Constantine, Stephen Salvador, Paul Armstrong, Jake Sullo, Joe Murphy, Alec Arinello and Logan Runde.   

Division II

  Division II Standings and Statistical Leaders

 The Title Contenders (the teams I can see being the last team standing):

Hanover, Hollis-Brookline, St. Thomas

The Hanover Bears grabbed the top seed and one of 3 first round byes in the 13 team D2 tournament and they did it with a relentless offensive attack led by Jackson McBride, Jack McGrath and Sam Sacerdote all hitting over .400.  Put that together with what Sacerdote(1.46 ERA) and Freddie Mierke(0.33 ERA) have given coach John Grainger on the mound and you’ve got a team that can win it all.

The tough part will be competing against Hollis-Brookline and St. Thomas.  The defending champion Cavaliers beat the Saints head to head and will likely be the number 2 seed with STA 3rd.  That could ultimately set up a rematch in the semifinals.  Hanover beat HB, but didn’t play St. Thomas, and you can be sure the Bears are happy their path to the Championship will likely  only include one of those teams instead of having to beat both.  St. Thomas has plenty on offense, but they need to find the pitching to complement ace pitcher Sam Grondin.  Hollis-Brookline will rely on their big 3 pitchers Charlie Hale, Zak Lussier and Jack Lager and a potent offense led by those same guys, plus Alex Razzaboni, Dylan Morelli and Jonah Winsor.     

The Final Four Contenders (capable of winning a couple of tournament games):

Souhegan, John Stark, Plymouth and Kingswood

The Sabers came on strong down the stretch to move into this conversation.  The offense should score some runs with a bevy of .300 hitters including Nolan Colby, Matt Silk, Drew Reagan, Hayden Goerlich and Brayden Hickman.  Senior Goerlich(3.05 ERA) and sophomore Hickman(0.48 ERA) are your probable starters on the mound for coach Chris Metz.  

John Stark has a dynamic duo on the mound in Anthony Paolicelli and Chase Philibotte.  Philibotte has a 1.15 ERA and has struck out 17 and 14 batters in his last 2 starts while Paolicelli is at 1.10 with an astonishing 75K in 38.1 innings pitched.  Paolicelli is also hitting .481 and should get player of the year consideration.

Plymouth and Kingswood play each other tomorrow with the winner probably getting the number 4 seed.  The Knights lost to both Plymouth and Souhegan earlier this season so they could potentially slide down past the Bobcats and Sabers if Plymouth beats them again and Souhegan tops Hanover in their last game.  Nate Cloos is leading the team in hitting with a .514 average and James Yarling provides power and a .400 batting average.  Yarling(0.50 ERA), Hayden Eastman(3.10) and Kolby Brown(1.32 with 51 Ks) are the top pitchers.  Plymouth will hand the ball to Johnny Flaherty(64K in 46.2 IP, 1.95 ERA) and Logan Finkle(3.69).  On offense the Bobcats have gotten great production from Owen Cahoon, Lucas Diamond and Cam Stratton.

The Dark Horse Team (the lower-seeded team that…on the right day…could upset a high seed):


The Bears have really faltered down the stretch, losing 5 straight after a 6-2 start.  But Tommy Flanagan and Joey Bush are 2 pitchers you can rely on to give you quality starts and if the offense shows up with them on the mound you have a chance for an upset.  

Division III

  Division III Standings and Statistical Leaders


The Title Contenders (the teams I can see being the last team standing):

  Monadnock, Campbell and Bishop Brady

Let’s face it, this is Monadnock’s division to win and the other teams are just hoping to get the chance to pull the upset.  They are a HUGE favorite for good reason.  Cam Olivo is the biggest reason.  His numbers are flat out unbelievable, almost as if the Huskies scorekeeper is fudging it.  He is not.  Olivo has hit safely in 36 of 52 at bats this season for a .692 average with 9 home runs and 39 RBI…in 16 games.  On top of that he has gone 8-0 on the mound with a 1.81 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 31 innings.  But Monadnock is far from a 1 man team.  All 8 regulars in the Huskies lineup are hitting over .300, 6 of them are over .400 and all 6 of those guys are in the Top 10 in RBIs in D3.  

Campbell and Bishop Brady are the only other teams I see as having a legitimate chance to unseat the 2-time defending champs.  The teams split their 2 meetings this year, and neither has faced Monadnock so there's some uncertainty surrounding how they would match up against the Huskies.  Campbell has the more explosive offense between Brady and the Cougars with Jack Kidwell and Brayden White the big boppers driving in top of the order guys Mikey Grace, Hunter Henderson and Luke Delia.  Logan Daigle(1.21 ERA in 34.2 IP) and Delia(2.59 ERA in 27 IP) have done most of the mound work.   Brady’s bats feature some heavy hitters too with Michael Thresher, Owen Thornton and Bryce Miller doing a lot of damage.  The Giants may have the best overall pitching staff in D3 with Thresher, Thornton and Charlie Bolnick all putting up low ERA’s and high strikeout numbers.

The Final Four Contenders (capable of winning a couple of tournament games):

White Mountains, Conant, Prospect Mountain and Fall Mountain

The Mountain teams are well represented in this group.  White Mountains, aka the Spartans from the North Country could/maybe should be considered in the previous group of Title Contenders, but we’ll leave them here because we just don’t know if they are in the same class as Brady, Campbell and Monadnock.  The problem for White Mountains is they just don’t play as many competitive games as the southern teams do because of travel reasons.  3 of the White Mountains wins have come against D4 teams and they also get to play 4 games against bottom of D3 teams Berlin and Newfound.   All that being said White Mountains have a very good 1-2 punch in the starting rotation that includes Karter Deming(1.06 ERA with 62 K in 33 IP) and Robert Breault(0.93 ERA, 37K in 22.2 IP) and also has Noah Covell(36K in 28 IP) who will likely work in the bullpen in the playoffs.  The Spartans bats are also formidable with 4 different players with 2 home runs…Deming, Ian St. Cyr, Ethan Heng and Brayden Shallow.  

Conant has a great mix of talented youth and experienced veterans to make a run to the Final Four.  The offense is especially loaded with Kaden Kirby and Hunter Schultz at the top getting on in front of Jordan Ketola, Lane LeClair and Corey Collins.  The Orioles pitching has been led by the outstanding work of LeClair who has worked 41 innings with an ERA of 1.02 and 72 punchouts.  I have Prospect Mountain and Fall Mountain a notch below Conant and White Mountains in these rankings.  The Timberwolves of Prospect Mountain have one of the best pitchers in D3 in Nathan Leavitt.  Leavitt has worked 53.1 innings and has an 8-0 record with a 1.18 ERA and 78 Ks.  The Fall Mountain Wildcats have relied on 2 pitchers, Mitchell Cormier(1.10 ERA with 62 K) and Pat Connors(30.1 IP, 3.23 ERA) for most of their innings.  Both of those guys are also hitting well over .300 with Porter Willett(10 RBI) and Max Vogel(9 RBI) helping drive in runs.

The Dark Horse Team (the lower-seeded team that…on the right day…could upset a high seed):


The 14 team D3 tournament offers byes to the Top 2 teams and Belmont is the middle of the pack team that has the best chance of pulling a major upset.  The Red Raiders have not 1, not 2, but 3 top of the rotation starters in Wyatt Divers, Anakin Underhill and Liam Waldron.  Waldron(1.97 ERA, 46K in 32 IP) and Underhill(2.20 ERA, 44K in 35 IP) are more strikeout pitchers while Divers(1,96 ERA, 17K in 25 IP) pitches more to contact.  Belmont has struggled to hit at times this season so the offense needs to find a way to scratch out some runs in the postseason if they want to make a run.  


Division IV

  Division IV Standings and Statistical Leaders

 The Title Contenders (the teams I can see being the last team standing):

  Derryfield, Newmarket, Sunapee, Littleton, and Gorham

  Starting pitching is going to differentiate the teams at the top, and all five teams above have it. Derryfield (John McDevitt 3-0 2.39 ERA and Alex Comire 4-0 2.45), Newmarket (Graham Willerer 4-0 3.25 and Nicholas Nigro 3-0 2.43), Sunapee (Finn Flint 4-0 0.25 and Jon Roth 4-1 1.56), Littleton (Reece Cook 6-0 0.88 and JP Perez 2-0 0.74) and Gorham (Chase Carder 5-0 0.26 and Landyn Croteau 3-1 1.42) have a pair of pitchers who can beat any team in the division.

 Add to the fact that all five teams have been here before, have veteran head coaches, and enough hitting to win a shootout, and you have a true title contender.

 The Final Four Contenders (capable of winning a couple of tournament games):

 Concord Christian, Mascenic Regional, Colebrook, and Woodsville…with Portsmouth Christian lurking on the outside.

 The Mascenic Vikings aren’t going out quietly. With Ryan O’Shea and Joe Cocozella have two pitchers that can beat a contender, and they have hitters up and down the lineup, led by Quinn Krook (.538 average and 12 RBIs) and Rowen Vautor (.344 and 11).

 Woodsville has an ace in Mike Hogan (2-1, 2.62) and five hitters over .330 for the season. Ryan Walker, Jackson Horne, Jack Boudreault, and Hogan have combined for fifty-one runs batted in, and this team knows how to compete. 

 Colebrook has hit the ball well all season. Can they get two wins from Liam Shaw and Kolten Dowse on the hill?

 Concord Christian has been one of the best hitting teams in the division all year, while Portsmouth Christian can throw Cai Summers (3-1 2.74) at you in the first round, but do they have enough pitching depth to beat a true contender in the second round?

 The Dark Horse Team (the lower-seeded team that…on the right day…could upset a high seed):


 The Pacers fit the profile for a team that could pull a big round one upset.

 They’ve played a difficult schedule, and they have multiple hitters who can hurt you. Aiden Davis leads the division with 28 RBIs, while Brayden Eastman, Josh Southwick, Noah Pangelinan, and John Winter have combined for 49 runs batted in.

 Most importantly, Sam Kilelee’s team has a pitcher in Aiden Davis (4-3, 3.19, and 80 strikeouts) who can give a contender fits.


Most Popular

Tag(s): Home  Article Archives  Baseball  NHIAA Division I  NHIAA Division II  NHIAA Division III  NHIAA Division IV