Baseball season recap: Bow claims D-II crown, Belmont, John Stark turn in strong 2024 campaigns

Bow celebrates around pitcher Sean Guerrette after closing out a 13-3 victory over Souhegan to win the Division II championship on Saturday at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester.

Bow celebrates around pitcher Sean Guerrette after closing out a 13-3 victory over Souhegan to win the Division II championship on Saturday at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. Chip Griffin / Photos by Chip

RIGHT: Chase Philibotte delivers a pitch for John Stark during the D-II semifinal against Bow.

RIGHT: Chase Philibotte delivers a pitch for John Stark during the D-II semifinal against Bow. Chip Griffin / Photos by Chip

Belmont shortstop Wyatt Divers (left) and second baseman Owen Waldron (4) celebrate after Monadnock’s Ben Dean was caught stealing during the Division III championship game on Saturday.

Belmont shortstop Wyatt Divers (left) and second baseman Owen Waldron (4) celebrate after Monadnock’s Ben Dean was caught stealing during the Division III championship game on Saturday. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL / Monitor staff

LEFT: MV pitcher Luke Dougherty throws against Oyster River last month.

LEFT: MV pitcher Luke Dougherty throws against Oyster River last month. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Devin Riel tries to square up a pitch for Pembroke during the Spartans’ 14-9 defeat against Merrimack Valley on May 2.

Devin Riel tries to square up a pitch for Pembroke during the Spartans’ 14-9 defeat against Merrimack Valley on May 2. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Concord second baseman attempts to tag Goffstown catcher Dillon Gaudet as he slides in safely on a steal during a May 10 contest at Memorial Field.

Concord second baseman attempts to tag Goffstown catcher Dillon Gaudet as he slides in safely on a steal during a May 10 contest at Memorial Field. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 06-13-2024 9:36 AM

Bow High baseball headlined area teams this spring on the diamond, winning the state championship for Division II. It was also a strong spring season for Belmont and John Stark, both of which made deep playoff runs as well.

Here is a recap of the area baseball teams from the 2024 season:

Concord

Record: 7-13 (17th out of 22 in D-I).

Seniors graduating: Mitchell Coffey, Dawson Fancher, Matt Jenness, Joey Mangone, Jackson Martin, Brett McDonough, Josh Turant, Trent Urbon, David Wicks.

Replicating the success Concord had last season — when it reached the D-I semifinals — was always going to be a challenge for the Tide after graduating 11 seniors from that team. With seven seniors, three juniors and one sophomore with no prior varsity experience on this year’s team, spring presented a learning curve for head coach Scott Owen’s group.

A five-game losing streak in late April hurt the Tide’s playoff hopes, as did late-season loses to Pinkerton and Salem. Still, as Owen emphasized throughout the season, he was never disappointed with his group’s effort despite the subpar record.

Bow

Record: 16-5 (beat No. 3 Souhegan to win D-II championship).

Seniors graduating: Sean Guerrette, Colby Smith, Ian Soucy, Caleb Szafran.

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Entering the playoffs, the Falcons looked no more likely to make a championship run than any other D-II team not named John Stark. But Bow caught fire at just the right time. After eking out wins in the first two rounds against No. 13 Milford and No. 12 Lebanon, the Falcons’ bats exploded against the No. 1 Generals in the semifinals, a 10-2 victory. Then in the state title game against No. 3 Souhegan, their bats reignited in a 13-3 win.

Head coach Ben Forbes mentioned that, entering the season, his group had a lot of work to do with little veteran experience on the roster. Throughout the season, though, they showed steady progression, ultimately culminating with a championship. With much of the core returning in 2025, Bow should be well-positioned to defend its title next season.

Coe-Brown

Record: 4-13 (T-16th out of 19 in D-II).

Seniors graduating: Joey Bush, Dylan Burovac, Braden Burt, Justin Stevens.

Coe-Brown snuck into the playoffs last year but struggled mightily to build off that momentum this season. The Bears dropped seven of their first eight games and then five straight to end the season.

The offense in particular struggled to score runs. Coe-Brown was shut out in eight of its 17 games and averaged just over two runs per game overall.

John Stark

Record: 17-2 (lost to No. 4 Bow in D-II semifinals).

Seniors graduating: Hunter Keim, Seth Marquardt, Anthony Paolicelli, Deltyn Williams.

Despite falling short of their championship aspirations, the Generals still put together a top-tier operation this season. Spearheaded by pitchers Anthony Paolicelli and Chase Philibotte, John Stark’s pitching was lockdown all season, allowing just 1.5 runs per game.

Quiet bats in the playoffs ultimately hurt their hopes of taking home the championship plaque, but head coach Dennis Pelletier has built a program that’s turned out strong teams year after year. Expect to see more of the Generals again next season.

Merrimack Valley

Record: 9-8 (lost to No. 10 Oyster River in first round of D-II playoffs).

Seniors graduating: Cam Chevarie, Ayden Clark, Luke Dougherty, Simon Keary, Alex McPherson, Will McPherson.

Turning the page after a 4-12 season, the Pride rode a hot start to the year en route to hosting a playoff game.

MV began the season 6-1, and even though it lost six of its final nine and lost its first-round playoff matchup with Oyster River in extra innings, the group demonstrated tremendous growth from last year.

Pembroke

Record: 9-9 (lost to No. 3 Souhegan in D-II quarterfinals).

Seniors graduating: Sean Bonisteel, Jake Demers, Joshua Goyette, Cameron Plumb, Colby Pope.

The Spartans upset No. 6 Kingswood in the first round of the playoffs, taking a major step forward after a 5-11 campaign in 2023.

A hot stretch at the end of the regular season — one that saw Pembroke win five of its last seven games — helped propel the Spartans into the tournament. Steadier pitching helped guide the way, allowing three runs or fewer in six of seven games over that final regular season stretch.

Belmont

Record: 17-3 (lost to No. 3 Monadnock in D-III championship).

Senior graduating: Hutch Haskins.

Perhaps head coach Matt LeBlanc’s team arrived near the top of the Division III standings earlier than he would’ve anticipated for a group that had just one senior on its roster in 2024, but the Red Raiders rode their success all the way to the state championship game.

Anchored by an offense that scored at least five runs in all but one game this season, Belmont ran into a similarly strong Monadnock team in the championship and couldn’t quite finish its season with a title. Still, the future is bright for the Red Raiders with eight of their nine starters returning next year.

Bishop Brady

Record: 12-6 (lost to No. 2 Campbell in D-III quarterfinals).

Senior graduating: Andrew Hunton.

A major step backward for the Giants in 2024 wouldn’t have been a surprise after last year’s state semifinal team lost five seniors. But following an uneven 6-5 start, Brady won five straight to close the regular season and picked up a win over No. 10 Stevens in the first round of the playoffs.

Losing just one senior from this group, the Giants should be positioned similarly to the Red Raiders, poised to make a deep run in 2025.

Hillsboro-Deering

Record: 3-13 (19th out of 21 in D-III).

Senior graduating: Samuel Bradley.

After fielding only a junior varsity team in 2023, Hillsboro-Deering struggled a bit this year but still won three games. The Hillcats were shut out in four straight contests to start the year but saw their offense come around as the season progressed.

Hopkinton

Record: 4-12 (t-14th out of 21 in D-III).

Seniors graduating: Tyler Czarkowski, Jimmy Eaton, Jackson Kovar, Adam Richter.

Starting the year 3-5, Hopkinton cratered in the second half of the season, losing eight of its last nine games. The Hawks allowed over 11.5 runs per game during that stretch, and the struggles narrowly kept them from qualifying for the playoffs.

Kearsarge

Record: 5-12 (lost to No. 4 Belmont in first round of D-III playoffs).

Seniors graduating:Eli Gray, Tobin Wyman, Chase Simino.

Like Hopkinton, late-season struggles for the Cougars stalled their momentum entering the playoffs. Kearsarge started the season 5-5 before losing seven in a row and then an eighth in the first round of the playoffs against a strong Belmont team.

Winnisquam

Record: 2-14 (21st out of 21 in D-III).

Seniors graduating: Keegan Adams, Ethan Gilleon, Lukas Mondor, Alex Nichols, Zach St. Onge

In a rebuilding year for the Bears, head coach Fred Caruso’s team struggled mightily. Winnisquam allowed 10 or more runs in a game nine times and scored three or fewer runs in a game nine times. Still, the Bears are just a year removed from being a playoff team, so Caruso’s seen his teams progress out of challenging spots before.

Concord Christian

Record: 10-7 (lost to No. 7 Portsmouth Christian in first round of D-IV playoffs).

Senior graduating: Zachary Syvertson.

It was a season of streaks this spring for CCA, a team that started 5-0, lost six of nine and then won three in a row entering the postseason. Ultimately, the Kingsmen ran into a Portsmouth Christian team that outslugged them, 10-0, in the first round of the playoffs.

Franklin

Record: 3-13 (20th out of 23 in D-IV).

Seniors graduating: Owen Hannigan, Hunter LeBlanc, Grayson McLaughlin, Ashton Turner.

After beginning the season 0-8, the Golden Tornadoes improved a bit in the second half of the year, posting a 3-5 record the rest of the way. Pitching was a bit of an Achilles’ heel for Franklin all season, though; the team allowed 10 or more runs in eight of its 16 games.

Pittsfield

Record: 5-10 (lost to No. 2 Woodsville in first round of D-IV playoffs).

Seniors graduating: Casey Anderson, Mike Casey, Evan Henninger, Brandin Weygand.

Similar to Franklin, the Panthers struggled on the mound this season, twice allowing more than 20 runs in a game and six times allowing at least 10. Still, back-to-back wins in mid-May allowed Pittsfield to sneak into the playoffs, where it lost to a strong Woodsville team, 10-0.