Baseball: Bow bashes its way to a Division II state championship

The Bow Falcons celebrate after winning the 2024 Division II baseball championship on Saturday at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester.

The Bow Falcons celebrate after winning the 2024 Division II baseball championship on Saturday at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Bow junior Dillan Abbate holds up the state championship banner after the Falcons beat Souhgean, 13-3, to claim the Division II state title on Saturday. Abbate took a ground ball off his left eye in the fourth inning but remained in the game.

Bow junior Dillan Abbate holds up the state championship banner after the Falcons beat Souhgean, 13-3, to claim the Division II state title on Saturday. Abbate took a ground ball off his left eye in the fourth inning but remained in the game. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Bow catcher Owen Webber leaps into the arms of pitcher Sean Guerrette after the Falcons beat Souhegan, 13-3, to claim the Division II state championship on Saturday.

Bow catcher Owen Webber leaps into the arms of pitcher Sean Guerrette after the Falcons beat Souhegan, 13-3, to claim the Division II state championship on Saturday. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Bow celebrates around Sean Guerrette after closing out a 13-3 victory over Souhegan to win the Division II championship on Saturday.

Bow celebrates around Sean Guerrette after closing out a 13-3 victory over Souhegan to win the Division II championship on Saturday. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Bow leadoff hitter Owen Webber dives headfirst into third base after hitting a two-run triple to give the Falcons a 12-2 lead over Souhegan in the top of the seventh inning during the Division II championship on Saturday.

Bow leadoff hitter Owen Webber dives headfirst into third base after hitting a two-run triple to give the Falcons a 12-2 lead over Souhegan in the top of the seventh inning during the Division II championship on Saturday. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Bow junior Nate Kiah throws a pitch for the Falcons during the Division II state championship game at Delta Dental Stadium on Saturday.

Bow junior Nate Kiah throws a pitch for the Falcons during the Division II state championship game at Delta Dental Stadium on Saturday. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 06-08-2024 2:40 PM

Modified: 06-09-2024 1:46 AM


MANCHESTER — “Terrible” was the word Bow’s junior catcher Owen Webber used to describe how the No. 4 Falcons (16-5) started off the 2024 season. It was April 15, and Bow lost to rival Merrimack Valley, 4-3.

But things progressed steadily from there. The Falcons won 12 of their remaining 16 regular season games, won two tight matchups against double-digit seeds in the first two rounds of playoffs, plowed past No. 1 John Stark in the D-II semifinals, and on Saturday, added the cherry on top, demolishing No. 3 Souhegan, 13-3, to claim the Division II state title.

“We got a little stream rolling, and towards the end of the season we got hot,” Webber said. “And that’s when it mattered.”

Bow wasted little time picking up where its offense left off on Wednesday, when it scored 10 runs against the Generals. In the first inning, junior Dillan Abbate drove in the first run on a sacrifice fly to left to give starting pitcher Nate Kiah an early 1-0 lead. Then in the fourth, an RBI single to right from sophomore Jake Reardon made it 2-0, a two-run double from senior Sean Guerrette made it 4-0, a sac fly from junior Owen Cray made it 5-0, a Souhegan (14-6) error added a sixth run and a two-run single from senior Colby Smith opened up an 8-0 advantage for the Falcons. 

Though the Sabers threatened with the bases loaded, down 8-2 in the bottom of the fourth, Guerrette — then pitching in relief of Kiah — quashed their best remaining chance to get back in the game.

Like they did on Wednesday, the Falcons’ bats set the tone.

“A lot of young hitters with big swings — big, long swings, and it took time for us to hone those down and get short to the baseball,” Bow head coach Ben Forbes said. “This was probably one of their best offensive performances we’ve had, and quite a day to have it.”

On the mound, Kiah lasted 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts, while Guerrette slammed the door, pitching the final 3.2 innings, allowing one run on two hits with four walks and a strikeout. He also caught a pop up back to the mound to end the game and cap off his senior season — one that saw him win D-II Pitcher of the Year — on top.

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It was a long journey for the Falcons to climb this mountain. Perhaps that’s why Forbes exuded so much pride as he reflected on what his team had just accomplished.

“We had a long way to go,” he said of where the team was at the start of the season. “We were young, and our leadership was a little inexperienced, and we needed some time to build, but they really put it on the fast track, and by the second part of the season, we were rolling. They bought in, and we made a game plan, they stuck to it, and here we are.”

Numerous road blocks stood in Bow’s way just to make it to Saturday’s title game. In the first round of the playoffs, the Falcons were locked in a scoreless tie with No. 13 Milford entering the bottom of the sixth inning; in the quarterfinals against No. 12 Hanover, they trailed 3-0 entering the bottom of the fourth. 

But thanks to the leadership that grew tremendously from the start of the season, the Falcons found a way to survive and advance, carrying that momentum into the final two games.

“They became very confident after the Hanover win, but they weren’t ever cocky,” Forbes said. “They were never arrogant. They knew they could get snakebit, so they knew they had to play our brand.”

While not as prevalent on Saturday because of their slugging prowess, the Falcons’ offense so much of the season revolved around small ball. It was a bunt from Smith that sparked a rally against Milford in that first-round playoff game; it was five sacrifice bunts that set up their offense to score double digit runs against a strong John Stark pitching staff in the semifinals. 

Whatever this team needed to do to win baseball games, it did.

“It’s really fun to be around these guys,” Webber said. “Championship comes second to family, and there’s a family we built here.”