PHOTOGRAPHS can be terrific and video is becoming more and more popular, but when it comes to telling a story or reliving a special moment nothing compares to the written or spoken word. With that in mind we present these quotations, all of which appeared in the Union Leader sports pages following some of the more memorable local sports stories that unfolded in 2018:
“I never really thought I would have this big of a decision to make. Always figured I was heading to Wake Forest. Didn’t really know about the pro possibility until fall of last year.”
— Bedford resident Grant Lavigne shortly after the Colorado Rockies selected him in the first round of this year’s MLB draft. Lavigne spurned a scholarship offer from Wake Forest and signed with the Colorado Rockies.
“In the last eight games (between the two programs) this is four wins for us, four wins for them; two state championships for us, two state championships for them. We hang with them every single game, but somehow, someway we’ve gotten the vibe that we’re just lucky to be on the same field that they’re on. It’s something we talked about before the game.”
— Pinkerton Academy boys’ lacrosse coach Brian O’Reilly after his Astros beat previously undefeated Bishop Guertin 11-9 in the Division I championship game.
“We came out with a good approach against him and really wanted to make a statement in the first couple innings. It was an unbelievable performance by each and every one of our hitters. I’m so happy for our guys right now. We earned it this year.”
— Exeter shortstop Cody Morissette after the Blue Hawks scored four runs in the first two innings against Bedford ace Geoff Mosseau and beat the Bulldogs in the Division I championship game for the second consecutive year. Exeter became the first Division I baseball program to win back-to-back titles since Keene in 1996 and 1997.
“After games, at center ice, it was always an embrace — never a handshake. He’d always say, ‘That was fun.’ Win or lose, he truly loved being around players and the game of hockey.”
— Manchester Memorial hockey coach Mark Putney on former Manchester Central hockey coach Brian Stone, who passed away in March at age 51.
“We were losing a lot at the end of the year, but nobody really cared. It was weird, but (manager John Schneider) didn’t even really care and no coach gave off the impression that they were nervous or freaking out. We all kind of figured when the playoffs came that’s when we’d turn it up, and we did.”
— Shortstop Bo Bichette after the New Hampshire Fisher Cats swept the Akron RubberDucks to win the Eastern League championship.
“We got punched in the throat immediately, which meant we had to chase the game. We changed tactics a couple times during the game knowing we needed to get one back. … You just cannot spot them two goals in three minutes.”
— Londonderry girls’ soccer coach Derek Dane, after his Lancers surrendered two goals in the first three minutes of Manchester Central’s 5-0 victory in the Division I championship game.
“I was a little nervous, but I wasn’t gonna let the PAT miss take control. I was gonna capitalize on that. I was really confident.”
— Senior placekicker Isaac Jasinski, who made a 27-yard field goal — the only field goal of his high school career — with one second remaining in the game to help Monadnock defeat Campbell 15-12 in the Division III championship. Jasinski had a PAT attempt blocked earlier in the quarter.
“I want to fill the Whittemore Center — not when we play Maine, but when we play every opponent, because that’s the way it was when I was here.”
— Former UNH forward Mike Souza, who replaced Dick Umile as the school’s hockey coach following the 2017-18 season.
“I thought he was the best AD the city ever had. A real stand-up guy. He wasn’t political and wasn’t worried about political pressure. He always did what was in the best interests of the student-athletes in the city of Manchester.”
— Former Manchester Central football coach Jim Schubert following the death of former Manchester director of athletics George “Butch” Joseph.
“It feels unbelievable. I got some big momentum, I think, from that first match of the week and beating Tim (Baines) in (two) playoff holes there. I told myself after that match that this year is mine. I knew I could get this, but to finally do it just feels great.”
— Hooksett’s Matt Paradis, who beat Pat Pelletier to win the 115th New Hampshire Golf Association Amateur Championship after finishing as the tournament’s runner-up in each of the previous two years.
“I’ve been doing this a lot of years and I can’t remember an event like this. To be able to share it (with the girls’ program) is really special. Definitely going to go down in my record book as a terrific event for the family.”
— Hanover boys’ hockey coach Dick Dodds, after his team beat Bedford to win the Division I championship at SNHU Arena. Hours earlier, John Dodds, Dick’s older brother, guided Hanover past Exeter in the girls’ championship game at the same facility.
“Our killer instinct came out today. We hit the ball well. We pitched well, and we fielded well. We just played a good game overall — probably one of the best of the year I think.”
— Rochester Post 7 pitcher Shaun Cormier after he tossed a complete game against Merrimack to help Post 7 win its fourth consecutive American Legion state championship.
“I told them. I said, ‘If we get the ball on this draw — which I know we will — I want the ball.’ And I didn’t say that to be selfish or anything. I was just like, ‘Guys, I feel so confident right now and I want this more than anyone.’ I told them and look what happened.”
— Bishop Guertin’s Kayli Keenan, who scored in overtime to give the BG girls’ lacrosse team a 10-9 victory over Bedford in the Division I championship game.
“Eddie, thank you for taking a chance on a kid from Central with no real recruiting experience. I’ve had tremendous support. This place has been my second family.”
— Stan Spirou, who retired as SNHU’s men’s basketball coach following the 2017-18 season, thanking former SNHU president Ed Shapiro during “A Night to Celebrate Stan Spirou” at the SNHU Fieldhouse. Spirou had a 633-341 record in 33 seasons as the program’s head coach.
“He’s a New Hampshire guy through and through, from Manchester Central to UNH. Now he’s at one of the top programs in the country.”
— UNH football coach Sean McDonnell when former Manchester Central and UNH quarterback Ryan Day was hired to replace Urban Meyer as Ohio State’s head coach.