Championship preview: A look at all four area teams competing in Saturday’s state championships

Bow players celebrated after beating Pelham in the Div. III lacrosse semifinals at the Bank of NH Stadium on Wednesday night, June 5, 2024.

Bow players celebrated after beating Pelham in the Div. III lacrosse semifinals at the Bank of NH Stadium on Wednesday night, June 5, 2024. GEOFF FORESTER

Belmont senior Hutch Haskins leaps in the air as he leads the team in congratulating pitcher Anakin Underhill (17) after he led the Red Raiders beat Conant in the Div. III semifinals on Tuesday night, June 4, 2024 at Robbie Mills Stadium in Laconia.

Belmont senior Hutch Haskins leaps in the air as he leads the team in congratulating pitcher Anakin Underhill (17) after he led the Red Raiders beat Conant in the Div. III semifinals on Tuesday night, June 4, 2024 at Robbie Mills Stadium in Laconia. GEOFF FORESTER

Bow baseball celebrates around Colby Smith after Smith scored a run in the Falcons' 10-2 win over John Stark in the D-II semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

Bow baseball celebrates around Colby Smith after Smith scored a run in the Falcons' 10-2 win over John Stark in the D-II semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

Coe-Brown's Kylie Bieniek pitching during her no-hitter in the D-II softball semifinal win for the Bears over Bow on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Coe-Brown's Kylie Bieniek pitching during her no-hitter in the D-II softball semifinal win for the Bears over Bow on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 06-06-2024 4:37 PM

Four area teams will compete in championship games to close out the spring season on Saturday.

At 10 a.m., No. 4 Bow baseball (15-5) will face off against No. 3 Souhegan (14-5) in the Division II state championship at Delta Dental Stadium, the home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. At 4 p.m., No. 4 Belmont (17-2) will take on No. 3 Monadnock (18-2) on the same field for the D-III baseball title.

No. 1 Coe-Brown softball (17-1) will look to defend its state title against No. 3 Oyster River (17-3) at 4:30 p.m. at Plymouth State University. And, No. 5 Bow boys’ lacrosse (12-4) will look to pull off a third-straight upset when it faces No. 2 Campbell (16-3) at Bank of NH Stadium at Laconia High School at 5 p.m.

Here’s a breakdown of each of the four area teams heading into championship Saturday:

Bow baseball rides high of toppling top-seeded John Stark

There were several moments earlier this postseason where a championship game appearance for the Falcons seemed unlikely. In their first-round playoff game against No. 13 Milford, the offense was shut out for the first five innings; in the quarterfinals against No. 12 Hanover, they found themselves in a 3-0 hole through three-and-a-half innings of play. Both required late-game dramatics to keep Bow’s season alive.

Then against No. 1 John Stark in the semifinals on Wednesday, the Falcons pulled away late for a lopsided 10-2 victory. 

Bow’s relied on the arms of Sean Guerrette (D-II Pitcher of the Year) and Nate Kiah through this playoff run, and both will likely play a role in Saturday’s championship game against Souhegan. Kiah threw 62 pitches on Wednesday; Guerrette threw 37, after throwing 107 in the quarterfinal game on Saturday. 

The Falcons didn’t meet the No. 3 Sabers during the regular season; Souhegan took down No. 10 Oyster River, 2-0, in the other semifinal.

Belmont baseball prepares for round two with Monadnock

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When Belmont and Monadnock squared off during the regular season on May 13, the Red Raiders were down several key starters. Belmont junior Michael Collette made his first-career varsity start on the mound, but the Huskies withstood a feisty effort from the Red Raiders in an 8-5 win. 

Now fully geared up for Saturday’s rematch — and coming off the high of their bit upset win over Conant on Tuesday — the Red Raiders will look for revenge on a bigger stage. Monadnock’s dominated its way through the first three rounds of the tournament thus far, outscoring its opponents, 45-2. But with Belmont having just scored five runs against a Conant team that hadn’t previously allowed more than four in a game all season, the Red Raiders should enter Saturday as confident as they’ve been all season.

Coe-Brown softball aiming to go back-to-back

Despite having a very different roster from the one that led Coe-Brown to a state championship last season, the Bears once again find themselves with a chance to hoist the championship plaque.

Sophomore pitcher Kylie Bieniek, fresh off a no-hitter against Bow in the semifinals on Tuesday, will almost assuredly get the ball again for Saturday’s battle with Oyster River. The Bears and Bobcats — geographic rivals — have already seen each other twice this season. Oyster River took the season opener on April 10, 5-1, while Coe-Brown responded with a 3-2 win on May 6. Runs will likely be at a premium, with the Bobcats having allowed just one run over their first two playoff games and the Bears having shutout each of their first two opponents. 

Bow boys’ lacrosse hopes string of upsets continues

Last year as the No. 1 seed, it was the Falcons who saw their championship hopes vanquished by No. 5 Hopkinton in the D-III semifinals; this season as the No. 5 seed, the Falcons have flipped the script. They beat No. 4 Kearsarge in the quarterfinals and then No. 1 Pelham in the semifinals to set up a date with No. 2 Campbell, a team it lost to, 7-3, back on May 17.

Bow’s defense has been stingy so far this postseason, holding a Kearsarge team that averaged over nine goals per game during the regular season to just six last Saturday and a Pelham team that averaged nearly 11 goals per game to just seven on Wednesday. If the Falcons can put forth a similar effort against a Campbell team that’s been similarly dominant defensively this season, they’ll have a decent chance to take home a state championship, just two years removed from a two-win season.