Capsule looks at Saturday’s four state championship baseball games at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
Division I: No. 1 Concord (17-4) vs. No. 3 Merrimack (16-5) at 4 p.m.
Head to head: Concord defeated Merrimack on opening day in extra innings, 2-1 Winning ways: The Crimson Tide owns an eight-game win streak, winning their last five regular-season games by decisive scores before posting three tough tourney victories. Merrimack is undefeated in 13 games, shutting out 11 opponents in May and June. After starting 0-3, they’ve won 16 of 18, 12 via shutout.
Championship Plaques: Concord is playing in its second straight title game, seeking its third championship (most recent 1980) in its eighth appearance. Merrimack won it all in 2007 after reaching the title game in 1996 and 1997.
Concord Probable Pitcher: Senior righty Eddie Dionne (9-0, 0.82 ERA) has struck out 64 in 60 innings of work and is 3-0 in the tourney. Look for senior shortstop Graham McIntire to close the game. He’s posted five saves with a 1.17 ERA, striking out 16 in 12 innings.
Top Hitters: Dionne (.325, 10 RBIs, 16 runs), McIntire (.458, 20 RBIs, 22 runs), first baseman Dillon Emerson (.366, 19 RBIs, 22 runs) and left fielder Mitch Hayes (.397, 12 RBIs, 16 runs). Cody Ferns (.356, 17 RBIs and runs) is out with a broken arm. Catcher Braden Smith and right fielder Will Sullivan hit over .300.
Defensive Standouts: Centerfielder Pat Cannon had 4 assists and made 39 putouts. McIntire is a vacuum at short.
Merrimack Probable Pitcher: Senior southpaw Tom Hudon (6-1, 0.56 ERA) has struck out 73 batters in 63 innings and hasn’t allowed a run since mid-April. Lanky sophomore Matt Wojciak (7-3, 1.12 ERA) is also available. Two of his losses came in early season relief stints. He’s whiffed 46 in 51 innings.
Top Hitters: Tomahawks sophomore catcher Mickey Gasper (12 RBIs) and DH Shane Williams are the only players hitting over .300, but every starter and regular contributor owns a batting average over .258. Second baseman Ian Therriault and center fielder Jackson King each stole 10 bases. Third baseman Tim Michaud drove home 12 runs.
Defensive Standouts: Therriault rules the infield while Jackson roams center. Junior Taylor Black’s move to shortstop bolstered Merrimack’s defense.
In a nutshell: Concord hit .356 as a team and averaged eight scores an outing. Merrimack’s defense and pitching shut out 12 opponents this year. “This should be a great game with the best going against the best,” said Concord coach Scott Owen. “And, I believe we’re seeing two of the three top pitchers in Division I going at it.”
Division II: No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas of Dover (18-1) vs. No. 3 Lebanon (18-1) at 7 p.m.
Head to head: Did not meet this season
Winning ways: After its lone loss at Portsmouth, 4-2, the Saints have posted five impressive wins by an aggregate score of 29-4. Lebanon has won 13 in a row, averaging almost seven runs an outing. Both teams defeated four-time defending champion Portsmouth (17-2).
Championship Plaques: St. Thomas is playing in its third championship game in four seasons. They were state champs in 2004. After playing in its fourth straight semifinal, Lebanon advanced to its first championship game since 1991, seeking its third title in its fifth attempt.
St. Thomas Probable Pitcher: Gatorade New Hampshire Player of the Year Jordan Bean (7-0, 1.00 ERA) faced 193 batters this season and allowed just 27 hits while walking 17 and striking out 74. The Saints also have Scott Munroe (6-0, 0.80 ERA) and Craig Teed (5-1, 2.17 ERA) available.
Top Hitters: Second baseman Josh Terry (23 RBIs, 16 runs) and Bean (15 RBIs, 16 runs without a strikeout in 51 at bats) are hitting over .400. Also watch out for John Nardif (.394) Right fielder Andy Johnson (.362, 17 RBIs, 13 runs) and first baseman Steve Hemming (.354). Shortstop Nick Gardner has three homers.
Defensive Standouts: The Saints are strong up the middle with catcher Arran Maran, shortstop Gardner and center fielder Sean Michael Fitzgerald.
Lebanon Probable Pitcher: Senior Brady Boisvert (10-0, 2.44 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 70 innings) will start. Colin MacNamee (4-0, 1.19 ERA) and Clint Goodwin (4-1, 3.78 ERA) are ready to lend an arm.
Top Hitters: Third baseman Cooper Hardy (.362), center fielder Justin Judd (.355, 18 RBIs, 21 runs) and first baseman MacNamee (.346, 15 RBIs, 17 runs) carry big sticks. Boisvert (19) and shortstop Cody Pelletier (21) score a lot of runs. Goodwin hit .288 and drove home 13 runs. Collectively, the Raiders hit .293.
Defensive Standouts: Catcher Jake Davis is a solid force behind the plate with a strong throwing arm that severely slows the opponents’ running attack.
In a nutshell: The Saints allowed about 1.5 runs a game while the Raiders conceded opponents an average of two. Both clubs may need to manufacture a win. “I think they are going to try and run. That’s their game,” said Lebanon coach Doug Ashey. “Lebanon’s aggressiveness on the base paths and their tough, gritty play is not something that we’re accustomed to,” said St. Thomas coach Marc Schoff.
Division III: No. 1 Hopkinton (19-1) vs. No. 3 Campbell of Litchfield (16-4) at 10 a.m.
Head to head: Campbell prevailed at home, 11-2, on April 13 with the Hawks evening the series at home on May 14, 12-2.
Winning ways: The Hawks haven’t lost in 20 games, outscoring the opposition 127-29, though they needed seventh-inning rallies to prevail in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. Defending champion Campbell started 11-0 before losing four of its last six regular-season games. They posted two shutouts in the tourney.
Championship Plaques: Campbell advanced to its third title game in four seasons. They won it all in 2006 and 2011. Hopkinton is making its second appearance. They were 2000 state champions.
Hopkinton Probable Pitcher: Senior Sam Bonifant (9-1, 2.05 ERA) struck out 57 this season and picked off 73 batters in his four-year career (27-7). Jay White (4-0, 2.84 ERA) is also available.
Top Hitters: Seven starters hit over .300. Second baseman Steve Auger (.440, 12 RBIs, 22 runs) swiped 24 bases. Third baseman Sam McManus (.425, 14 RBIs, 20 runs) and DH Matt McCormack (.377, 20 RBIs, 13 runs) each stole 12 bases. Catcher Jake Nelson (.381, 18 RBIs) and first baseman Colin O’Keefe (.348, 12 RBIs) made key contributions.
Defensive Standouts: Shortstop Nate Greabe (.355) made just two errors at short, with McManus making only three at third.
Campbell Probable Pitcher: Sophomore Connor Sahlin (6-2, 1.12 ERA) and his 88 mph fastball will take the mound first. He’s allowed 25 hits in 44 innings with 49 strikeouts and 23 walks. Senior Travis Manning (6-1, 2.29 ERA) is next in line.
Top Hitters: In his 70th at-bat, sophomore Christian Bourgea (.453, 22 RBIs) whiffed for the first time this season. Third baseman Chuck Neild (.478, 21 RBIs) and Sahlin (.325) each hit four homers. Manning (.364), center fielder Sean Gray (.346), second baseman Gabe LaCroix (.333) are also dangerous.
Defensive Standouts: Nick Freson may be the best-ever defensive first baseman at Campbell. Caron calls a great game behind the plate.
In a nutshell: Each ace turned in one top-notch performance, handing the other team its first loss of the season. “They are as confident as we are. It’s going to come down to execution,” said Hopkinton coach Dave Chase. “There are no secrets. The pitchers know where to put the ball to get outs, but they are not going to be able to pitch around everybody.”
Division IV: No. 3 Sunapee (16-3) vs No. 5 Newmarket (15-4) at 1 p.m.
Head to head: Did not meet this season
Winning ways: The Lakers are riding an 11-game win streak. Newmarket’s 10-game winning streak was snapped by top-seeded Portstmouth Christian, 7-0, in the regular season finale, a defeat the Mules avenged in the semifinals, 4-0.
Championship Plaques: Defending champion Sunapee is 4-1 in title games, winning three straight from 1994-96. Newmarket is seeking its first Division IV title, taking home the runner-up plaque in 1999. They’ve won Class M crowns.
Sunapee Probable Pitcher: Hard throwing senior Troy Fowler (7-1) is expected to start with classmate TJ Wacholtz (7-0) ready in relief. Both have an ERA well below 2.00.
Top Hitters: Fowler’s average hovered at .500 all season. He hit eight homers and drove home over 30 runs. Catcher Brian Brewster hit over .400 with outfielder Noah Skarin and second baseman Brett Simpson hitting over .300 on the season.
Defensive Standouts: Brewster has been a top-notch backstop for several seasons.
Newmarket Probable Pitcher: Senior ace Andrew Oliver (8-1) with 78 strikeouts in 56 innings is ready to take the ball.
Top Hitters: Left fielder Sean Fleming (.403, 20 RBIs, 2 runs), DH Evan Botterman (.392, 17 RBIs, 13 runs), center fielder Kevin Clougherty (.378, 11 runs), catcher Robert McGloughlin (.365, 11 RBIs, 19 runs), second baseman Jeff Carmichael (.306, 17 runs) have been consistent all season. Oliver hit .303 and scored 18 runs.
Defensive Standouts: Shortstop Sam Morin (.274, 14 RBIs) has a strong glove. Third baseman Sam Leahy and catcher Robert McGloughlin possess strong arms. The outfield has good range.
In a nutshell: Sunapee began preparing to repeat a day after recording the last out in 2011. Newmarket started believing after upsetting PCA in the semifinals. “The kids are excited. It’s going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes,” said Lakers coach Tom Frederick. “All we need to do is play a clean game and do what we’re capable of,” said Mules coach Stan Jurkoic.