It’s finally time for that full swing into spring
Opening Day/Week has arrived.
Yes, today marks the full beginning of the high school spring sports season. Sure, rain and raw weather could wipe out a good portion of it the next couple of days, but there’s always another day to reschedule. It’s that time, until just about June 10.
Restaurants often have what are called “soft opens” and “hard opens”. You might call last week the spring season’s soft open with just a smattering of boys and girls tennis matches throughout the week.
This week is the hard open, with baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls track, and boys volleyball joining the party.
Here are some things to look for:
—- Last spring was not the successful one that occurred in 2017, with three champions on baseball/softball finals day. And the coaching turnover bug hit, as there are a plethora of new coaches in baseball, softball and lacrosse. Baseball and softball have a combind seven new mentors. New baseball coaches are Merrimack’s Kevin Moyer, Souhegan’s Tom Walker, Hollis Brookline’s James Sartell and Campbell’s Drew Gora. Softball sees Alvirne’s April Erginis, Merrimack’s Greg Cochrane, and Hollis Brookline’s Frank Lukovits. If Sartell’s name sounds familiar for some, yes, it’s the retired Hollis police chief. In case your wondering what happened to successful Alvirne softball coach Sarah Brisk, she had a baby in the off-season and felt that with a young family the demands of coaching would be too much. She’ll be missed.
—– The additions of Windham, Portsmouth and Goffstown to Division I will certainly have an impact this spring, as coaches have already been talking about it. It possible baseball will feel the effect the most, because you’re talking about three teams that have been successful in the divison. In Portsmouth and Goffstown alone, you’re talking about last year’s finalists.
“It’ll be an even more difficult challenge,” Guertin coach Scott Painter said.
“It;s a battle every game in Division I,” North coach Zach Harris said. “I believe the division is very deep, especially with the additins of Portsmouth, Goffstown and Windham.”
— We’re going to say it now: There’s going to be a local softball team in at least one of these Division state title games, if not more. Most likely in Divisions II, III and IV. Last year Campbell, Milford and Wilton-Lyndeborough all lost in the quarters in big upsets. For the Cougars and Spartans, it was their only defeats of the season. You’ve got to think at least one of these teams is going to use that motivation to make a title game run.
— Still on baseball, on paper it looks like Painter could have the best Guertin team he’s ever had in his nine-year tenure (yeah, it’s been that long). Guertin looks like it could be the area’s best team, by far. Perhaps a bit hinges on the return to health of pitching ace Brett Anderson, who didn’t play football in the fall due to knee surgery. If Anderson is healthy, the Cards could be a contender. But remember, that white paper turns a different color when it mixes in with the infield dirt and outfield grass.
—- In a couple of other sports, some key matchups take place early in the season, which is too bad in a way. For example, Hollis Brookline and Souhegan clash today in a rematch of last year’s Division II boys tennis finals, at Nashua’s Longfellow Tennis & Swim Club, indoors. And it’s the only time they meet this spring after meeting twice during the regular season last year. The two teams have obliged with 2-0 starts, but the Cavs had the tougher road, having to beat a contending Portsmouth team 5-4 on the road this past Friday. And the Milford and Souhegan softball rivalry is early too – this Wednesday.
But even tougher, Pinkerton and Bishop Guertin square off in boys lacrosse a week from Tuesday. Waaaaay too early in this humble scribe’s opinion. That matchup in the past has been in very late April or early May. And don’t forget, the team that usually wins the regular season game loses in the finals, as the past few seasons have shown. But still, meeting on April 16 we think is too soon. And with a two-year schedule cycle, it will likely be the same way next spring as well.
—- We won’t get into the full schedule here, but the North-South Battle of the Bridge will be condensed into three days this spring. For varsity sports, it’s boys tennis, boys and girls lacrosse on Thursday May 2; girls tennis and baseball on Friday May 3, and boys and girls track plus girls softball on Tuesday, May 7. We’ll show you the full deal that in the coming days. But it’s interesting to note that the North-South softball teams no longer are playing twice while baseball has that school vacation matinee at Holman on April 24. And the boys and girls lacrosse teams play again in another doubleheader on May 20.
See you on a field soon. Dress warm.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,email@example.com, or@Telegraph _TomK.