No-hit Championship: Concord wins D-I baseball title on Jonah Wachter’s no-hitter

  • Concord High senior Jonah Wachter delivers a pitch at Historic Holman Stadium in Nashua during Saturday’s Division I baseball championship against Winnacunnet. Wachter threw a no-hitter and Concord won, 4-0, claiming the fifth title in program history and the first since 2012. ALLIE ST. PETER / For the Monitor

  • The Concord High baseball team celebrates at Historic Holman Stadium in Nashua after winning Saturday’s Division I baseball championship against Winnacunnet, 4-0. The Tide used dominant pitching all postseason to earn the state title. ALLIE ST. PETER / For the Monitor

  • Concord’s Ryan Philbrick slides under the tag of Winnacunnet catcher Cam MacDonald in the fifth inning of Saturday’s Division I final against Winnnacunnet. Philbrick went 3-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases. LAUREN CALDWELL / Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 6/13/2021 6:49:23 AM

Jonah Wachter was more interested in the championship than the no-hitter. Tyler Wright made sure Wachter and the Concord High baseball team got both.

Wright made a diving catch in center field to preserve Wachter’s no-no, and then flipped to second base for a game-ending, title-clinching double play in the Crimson Tide’s 4-0 win against Winnacunnet in Saturday’s Division I final at Historic Holman Stadium in Nashua.

“Tyler came in and went back, and then it was a little iffy if he was going to catch it, but at that point I didn’t care about the hits, I just cared about winning the game,” Wachter said. “Then he caught it and threw him out at second for the double play, and the rest is history.”

It’s been a historical postseason for Wachter. He opened the playoffs with a 6-inning perfect game against Goffstown in a 10-0 win, earned the win against Bedford in a 3-1 quarterfinal decision that took two days to complete, picked up a save in the Tide’s 6-4 semifinal win against Keene and then capped it off with the championship no-hitter against the Warriors (18-5). Wachter finished the final with 15 strikeouts, two walks and two hit batters.

“Even when he’s off he’s as good as anybody else, and he was electric today,” Concord coach Scott Owen said. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he’s gotten to where he is because he works so hard. He’s grown up mentally on the mound as much as physically, he trusts his pitches because he’s worked so hard, and he’s just a bulldog out there, he’s a competitor.”

Concord (17-4) has a team full of competitors, including junior starters Ryan Philbrick, Brooks Craigue and Cam McGonigle, who were key members of the Concord hockey team that won the D-I state title in March. Philbrick, the D-I boys’ hockey player of the year, went 3-for-4 from the leadoff spot, owned the base paths and scored two runs.

Philbrick opened the game with a line-drive single against highly-touted Winnacunnet starter Joe Allen, who pitched five innings and allowed two hits, two walks and four runs, two earned. That hit didn’t lead to any runs, but it announced Concord’s presence.

“Ryan does what he does," Owen said. “He sets the tone for the game.”

The Tide scraped together the game’s first run in the second when Wachter drew a lead-off walk, took second on a bunt from Kevin McDonough, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Warriors error. Philbrick went back to work in the fifth inning when he led off with a single against Allen, went to third on a hit-and-run single from Craigue and eventually scored on a ground ball from Nater Wachter (1-for-3, two RBI), Jonah’s younger brother.

“There’s no one else on our team, and I don’t know if there’s anyone else in the state, who scores on that ground ball to short, I really don’t,” Owen said. “It’s a hard hit ball right at the shortstop with the infield in and he scored.”

Craigue later came home on a fly ball from Wright to give the Tide a 3-0 lead. On the other side, Wachter was rolling. From the second to the sixth inning he struck out 12 of the 18 batters he faced and no Warrior went past second base. It was during that stretch that he realized he had a no-hitter going, despite the scoreboard at Holman that was simply blank where Winnacunnet’s hit total should have been.

“I was looking at the scoreboard and I didn’t see a zero, so I was like, maybe?” Wachter said. “And then in the fifth inning I was like, ‘Oh, I actually have another one going.’”

Concord upped its lead to 4-0 in the seventh when Philbrick collected his third hit of the game, this one against reliever Hayes Waddell (2 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts), and eventually scored on a single from Nater Wachter.

Winnacunnet’s Owen Bateman drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the seventh and then went to second on a passed ball, but he ran into an out when the next batter, Joey Fredericks, grounded to third. Fredericks later moved up to second on a wild pitch, but he wandered too far off the bag on the line drive from Brady Annis that Wright snared and turned into the season-ending double play.

“I got a good read off the bat and I just didn’t want to let it get down because I knew Jonah had a no-hitter, so I just made a play,” Wright said.

It’s not the first time Wright and Wachter have teamed up for a historic no-hitter. They combined on one from the mound for the Concord All-Stars in the opening game of the 13-15 Babe Ruth World Series in Longview, Wash., in 2018 with Wachter pitching 5.2 innings and Wright closing the door for the final 1.1 innings. The kids from New Hampshire didn’t win that national tournament, but Concord made sure to seal the deal on Division I on Saturday.

“We were confident as a team and we made it happen,” Wright said.

Wachter made sure it happened in style, although any style would have worked.

“No-hitters are cool, but this was a team thing,” Wachter said. “We’ve been working for this since March 24 and we finally got it done.”

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