Roger Brown's Diamond Notes: Astros, Lancers know each other well
The Londonderry High School and Pinkerton Academy of Derry baseball teams are anything but strangers, but they’ll get to know each other a little better when they meet in the Division I championship game Saturday (4 p.m.) at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
It’ll be the sixth time the teams have faced each other in the last two years. Londonderry went 3-0 against Pinkerton last season, and the teams split two regular-season games this year.
“I think it’s an accurate representation of the best teams in Division I this year,” Londonderry coach Brent Demas said. “We’ve seen them a lot the last two years, so there’s not going to be a lot of surprises. We know what to expect and they know what to expect, so it’s just going to come down to execution.”
Third-seeded Pinkerton (16-6) hasn’t won a Division I title since 1986, when the Astros beat Keene 3-2 in the Division I championship game. Fifth-seeded Londonderry last won the Division I championship by beating Salem, 5-2, in the 2010 title game. Exeter, the No. 11 seed, upset top-seeded Londonderry to win last year’s championship.
The Pinkerton/Londonderry matchup is one of four state championship baseball games scheduled to be played at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium on Saturday. The Division III game will begin at 10 a.m., and will be followed by the Division IV contest at 1 p.m. The Division II title game between No. 1 Goffstown (19-2) and No. 3 Plymouth (15-4) is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Saturday’s pitching matchup is expected to be Londonderry’s Tom Corey and Pinkerton’s Connor Donahue.
Donahue is 4-2 and pitched a one-hitter when Pinkerton beat Exeter 4-0 in the quarterfinals. He has 1.65 ERA, with 47 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings.
Londonderry did not face Donahue during regular season.
“Connor Donahue will be going for us,” Pinkerton coach Steve Campo said. “We’re not going to hide that.”
Corey is 3-2 with a 2.28 ERA in seven starts this season. Two of those starts came against Pinkerton.
“He’s earned it,” Demas said. “He’s a big-game pitcher.”
Campo was an outfielder at Londonderry and played for Demas his senior season. He was an assistant coach at Londonderry before taking over at Pinkerton last season, when Londonderry beat Pinkerton in the semifinals.
One other interesting note: Michael Campo, Steve’s brother, is the president of the Londonderry baseball booster club.
“I’ll predict that it’s going to be a good game, and that you’re going to see good pitching and defense,” Demas said.
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THE feel-good story of the postseason continues to be the seventh-seeded John Stark of Weare softball team, which will face top-seeded Coe-Brown of Northwood in Saturday’s Division II championship game at Southern New Hampshire University (4:30 p.m.).
Joan Kilar, whose twin daughters play for John Stark, died of breast cancer in February, and the team dedicated its season to her. The Generals wear pink ribbons on the uniforms and batting helmets.
Catcher Jill Kilar hit a grand slam in the seventh inning to help John Stark defeat Goffstown in Saturday’s quarterfinals, and both Kilar sisters factored in a two-run 10th-inning rally that handed John Stark a 4-3 victory over ConVal of Peterborough in Wednesday’s semifinals. Shortstop Jackie Kilar tied the game when she scored from third on her sister’s single, and then Lyndsey Turner’s single scored Kendall Keim with the game-winning run.
“The girls came to me and asked if we could dedicate the season to the mom, Joan Kilar,” John Stark coach Rick Sweeney said following his team’s victory over Goffstown. “Every once in a while it seems to inspire at the right time.”
Until this year, the John Stark program had never advanced past the semifinals.
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THE Division I softball championship game features two programs looking for their first state title: top-seeded Spaulding of Rochester and third-seeded Dover. The Red Raiders (19-2) and Green Wave (16-5) will meet Saturday night (7) at SNHU.
Spaulding, which will carry a 17-game winning streak into the contest, had never advanced to a championship game before this season. Dover’s only championship-game appearance came in 2009, a 2-0 loss to Concord.
Spaulding beat Dover 6-2 during the regular season.
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THE Division III and Division IV softball championship games will be played at Plymouth State University on Saturday. Top-seeded White Mountains of Whitefield (19-0) will face third-seeded Campbell of Litchfield (16-3) for the Division III title, and second-seeded Wilton-Lyndeborough (17-2) will meet fourth-seeded Portsmouth Christian of Dover (17-4) to decide the Division IV champion.
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THE Goffstown baseball team will be trying to win its first championship since 2008 Saturday. The Grizzlies competed in Division I that year, and beat Salem 4-3 to win the title. Goffstown was the top seed for last year’s Division I tournament, but was upset by Portsmouth in the championship game.
Plymouth’s last title came in 1999, when it beat Laconia 14-4.
Email staff writer Roger Brown at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.