NHIAA Baseball Preview: Target is aimed squarely at Londonderry
Londonderry pitcher Rob Del Signore throws to a Pinkerton Academy batter during their game hosted at Pinkerton Academy in Derry last year. (Union Leader File)
The ScoopPlayers to watch: Cam Bath, OF (Monadnock); Dylan Blowey, P (Lisbon); Christian Bourgea, INF (Campbell); Tyler Brown, P/OF (Alvirne); Nate Corriveau, P (Bow); Eric Damphousse, OF (Bishop Guertin); Jake Damphousse, P (Timberlane); Dominic Deblaise, P/C (Winnisquam); Rob Del Signore, P/1B (Londonderry); Adam Dolan, P/INF (Windham); Connor Donahue, P (Pinkerton); Chris Farr, P (Pittsfield); Ryan Frank, P/OF (Pelham); Mike Gasper, C (Merrimack); Carmen Giampetruzzi, P (Trinity); Seth Learned, P/OF (Souhegan); Ben Mallet, P (Monadnock); Pat Martin, P (Wilton-Lyndeborough); Ryan McKenna, INF/OF (St. Thomas); Jake Nelson, P/C (Hopkinton); Alex Parenteau, P/OF (Keene); Josh Partridge, P (Concord); Kris Perkins, P (Pittsfield); Tanner Putnam, P/OF (Goffstown); Kevin Radcliffe, P (Farmington); Connor Sahlin, P (Campbell); Tyler Sanschagrin, P/C (Gorham); Colin Sullivan, INF/OF (Plymouth); Ryan Tanguay, P (Stevens).
Defending champions: Exeter (Division I), Portsmouth (Division II), Conant (Division III) and Pittsfield (Division IV).
Noteworthy: Of the four Players of the Year in 2013 (one in each division), Campbell of Litchfield pitcher Connor Sahlin is the only still playing NHIAA baseball. Sahlin went 6-0 with a 0.40 ERA against New Hampshire competition last season. He struck out 49 and walked seven in 34⅓ innings. ... All four state championship games will be played June 14 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. ... James Gaj (Nashua South), Paul Lemire (Trinity of Manchester), Jason Matthews (Windham) and Josh Heaphy (Conant of Jaffrey) are among the first-year head coaches this season. Lemire is in his second coaching stint at Trinity. Heaphy replaced Brian Royal, who resigned after leading Conant to the Division III title last season. ... Pittsfield’s Kris Perkins, who was the winning pitcher in last year’s Division IV championship game, allowed one run (unearned) in his final 47 inning last season. ... Alvirne of Hudson coach Mike Lee enters the season with 304 career victories. Lee is in his 32nd season as Alvirne’s coach. ... Hopkinton pitcher/catcher Jake Nelson is among the top high school prospects in New England. Nelson recently took an official visit to Vanderbilt.
Defending champions: Timberlane (Division I), Con-Val (Division II), Campbell (Division III) and Woodsville (Division IV).
Noteworthy: Farmington pitcher Jennelle Thompson pitched every inning for the Tigers last season. She also batted .529 from the leadoff position and was successful in 26 of 27 stolen-base attempts. ... Franklin has qualified for postseason play in each of the 17 seasons Skip Dubois has been the program's head coach. The Golden Tornadoes have reached the semifinals in 10 of those 17 seasons. ... Con-Val pitcher Courtney Fisher, a senior, will enter the season with 581 career strikeouts. ... Harold Sachs has a 540-75 record in 29 seasons as Salem's head coach. ... Former Souhegan coach Jim Rines is in his first season as Milford's head coach. Rines led the Sabres to five Class I championship game appearances and one state title (2003). ... Woodsville has made it to at least the Division IV semifinals in each of the last four seasons. The Engineers won the championship in 2010 and 2013. ... Glen Miller is in his first season as the head coach at Oyster River of Durham. The Bobcats have lost their last 98 games.
Londonderry was the No. 1 seed for last year's Division I tournament, but No. 11 Exeter upset the Lancers, 3-2, in the Division I championship game.
Del Signore, who will play for Division II Southern New Hampshire University next season, was 6-0 with two saves and a 0.81 ERA last spring. Corey, who is headed to Division II Franklin Pierce, was 6-3 with one save and a 1.07 ERA a year ago.
"Windham will be good because they were young last season," Lawrence said. "Portsmouth will be near the top because it's the Portsmouth program. I think Souhegan is another team that could be pretty good."
Campbell of Litchfield and Monadnock Regional of Swanzey each return two all-state players from a year ago and figure to be the top teams in Division III.
Pittsfield looks like it will have a chance to repeat as the Division IV champion. The Panthers return their top three pitchers from a year ago: Kris Perkins (7-1, 0.79 ERA), Chris Farr (5-0, 1.97 ERA) and Jed Eastman (2-2, 2.33 ERA). Those three recorded eight shutouts last season.