Spring players of the season


Monitor staff

Published: 06-10-2023 11:30 AM

With the spring sports season coming to an end Sunday night with the boys’ lacrosse championships, the Monitor wants to recognize some of the standout area athletes from the last few months.

Among team sports, 13 teams reached their tournament semifinals and six competed in championships. Hopkinton boys’ lacrosse will be the seventh, hoping to wrap up the spring season Sunday evening with a D-III championship when it takes on Campbell in Exeter.

Softball was the area’s deepest sport this spring, with eight area teams qualifying and four reaching the semifinals.

Here are the Monitor’s players of the season for spring 2023:

Baseball: Nater Wachter, senior, Concord

On a Concord team that reached the Division I semifinals, Wachter was a force in the middle of the lineup all season. Committed to play baseball next year at Southern New Hampshire University, Wachter finished the regular season hitting .483 with four home runs and 28 runs batted in; he had a .583 on-base percentage, seven doubles, three triples and scored 23 runs.

He was recognized as the Division I Offensive Player of the Year by D-I’s coaches.

“Offensively, if you've seen him play, there

s nothing I have to tell you,” Concord head coach Scott Owen said. “He's a special talent at the plate. He can hit the ball all over the ballpark equally as hard. The ball just comes off his bat differently. He works tremendously hard at it, and he's gotten what he deserves.”

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He also played a strong center field for the Tide.

“I think something that goes underlooked with him is his defensive play in the outfield,” Owen said. “He's got a great arm, covers a ton of ground. Balls that you think are down, all of a sudden, he's catching. He also is a great leader. Good with the younger kids. Comes to practice and works hard, does his job, leads by example.” 

Wachter is one of 11 seniors graduating from a Concord program that wrapped up the 2023 season 16-6.

Softball: Sarah Taylor & Maddy Wachter, juniors, Concord

Most teams would be lucky to have one pitcher as good as Taylor or Wachter on their team; Concord’s been fortunate enough to have two. Both right-handers are key reasons why the Tide reached the D-I championship game on Saturday and both had several notable moments throughout the 2023 season.

Against Timberlane in the D-I quarterfinals, Wachter threw a perfect game; against Bishop Guertin on May 15, she struck out 18 hitters, a new Tide record for strikeouts in a seven inning game; she also turned in 17-strikeout performances against Alvirne and Goffstown.

Meanwhile, Taylor pitched a complete game against then-unbeaten Exeter, allowing five hits and just one run with two walks and eight strikeouts against one of the top offenses in the division.

In the D-I semifinal against Salem, the duo teamed up to shutdown the Blue Devils; Taylor started and threw five shutout innings, and Wachter followed for a scoreless sixth and seventh.

“They both bring a lot of confidence that makes them so good,” Concord head coach Duke Sawyer said earlier in the season. “Either one of them out there, the team is so confident behind them. (The team knows) they're going to get their best out there, and I think they know they're going to get their best from the team working on defense and offense.” 

In the circle entering Saturday, Wachter is 9-0 with a 0.89 ERA. She’s struck out 120 hitters and walked just nine in 63 innings pitched. Taylor is also 9-0 with a 0.69 ERA and has struck out 100 hitters and walked 11 in 51 innings.

In case their pitching numbers weren’t impressive enough, Wachter hit .310 with 20 RBI on 17 hits, and Taylor hit .534 with three home runs and 38 RBI, while striking out just three times at the plate; Taylor was also named Gatorade Softball Player of the Year for New Hampshire.

Both Taylor and Wachter also have another year left in their high school careers, setting them up for one more possible run of domination through D-I area softball.

Girls’ Lacrosse: Alex Larrabee, senior, Bow

Bow took home the Division III championship this season, and Larrabee played a massive role. Entering postseason play, she’d totaled 339 points in her high school career, with 220 goals and 119 assists. 

In the D-III semifinal against Concord Christian, she scored six times. In the D-III championship game, Larrabee found the back of the cage once and added four assists in Bow’s 20-6 win over St. Thomas to cap off her dominant career with a title.

“There’s no way other to put it than surreal,” Larrabee said after the win. “The four other seniors are my best friends. We play other sports together. It feels so good to get the job done. It feels good to get it done regardless, but to do it standing with your best friends feels so good. It makes us feel like we left our mark here.”

For her head coach Chris Raabe, who’s coached at Bow for 24 seasons now, this year’s team spearheaded by Larrabee, might be one of the most talented she’s had.

“She is one of the hardest working players I have ever coached,” Raabe said of Larrabee. “Just drive by the high school fields on a Saturday or Sunday, and I bet you she is out working on her game – day or night. She puts the time in when no one is looking. She has such a passion for the sport, and it has been infectious on this team. She is also a great leader and is always trying to bring out the best in each player.”

Larrabee will continue her lacrosse career at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York next year.

Boys’ Lacrosse: Steven Reddy, senior, Hopkinton

For a program riding a seven-game winning streak into Sunday’s championship, no player has had more of an impact on his team this season than the Hawks’ senior defenseman.

A two-year captain, he was named First Team All-State last season and looks to crack the list again this season. He’s also a top contender for D-III’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

While his position may not lend itself to gaudy offensive numbers, Reddy had a huge goal for Hopkinton in the D-III semifinal against Bow to tie the game at 6-6 in the third quarter.

“The guy's just a dynamo. Any time the ball's near him, you better look out. Get it away from him because he's going after it,” Hopkinton head coach Deacon Blue said after the win over Bow. “He wasn't going to take no for an answer. Got the ball up the field for us, got a nice goal in the middle of the game, too, to give us some momentum, take the wind out of their sails. He's just huge for us. Such a great guy. Big team player. Got a lot of heart, and really leads the guys well.”

After coming up short in the D-III championship game last season against Laconia, Reddy hopes to lead the Hawks back to the top on Sunday against Campbell, a team it lost to, 4-2, on April 21. That loss was part of the Hawks 5-5 start to the season. Since May 8, Hopkinton has not lost.

If that trend continues on Sunday, Reddy will almost certainly be a major reason why.

Girls’ Tennis: Grace Modzeleski, sophomore, Bow

When you’re the No. 2 singles player and a No. 1 doubles player on your team, you’re consistently going up against your opposing team’s best. More often than not, Modzeleski came out with the victory.

Modzeleski went 11-5 against strong opponents in singles matches and went 8-8 at No. 1 doubles with partner and fellow sophomore Jaden Glace. She consistently racked up victories for the 9-7 Falcons, helping them secure the No. 8 seed in the Division II tournament.

Bow cruised through the prelims with a 9-0 victory over No. 9 Timberlane before falling to No. 1 – and eventual champions – Oyster River in the quarterfinals.

Modzeleski and Glace were selected to compete in the NHIAA Girls’ Double State Tournament, the only area girls selected to compete, aside from Bow’s No. 2 doubles team of Sudy Chakraborty and Katie McCabe. Modzeleski and Glace fell to Oyster River’s Maggie Farwell and Sofie Gibson in the opening round.

Boys’ Tennis: Liam Miller, sophomore, Kearsarge

Miller helped lead the way for Kearsarge’s second boys’ tennis championship in the last three years, after the Cougars defeated Plymouth, 5-4, in the D-III championship, with Miller winning his singles and doubles matchups.

He subsequently competed in the boys’ tennis singles tournament, winning his first match, 8-3. It’s the first time in Lynn Miller’s eight years coaching the program that she’s had a player advance to the second round of this event. In the doubles competition, Miller and teammate Davis West reached the event’s third round.

“I can’t say enough good things about Liam,” said Lynn Miller. “He is coachable and inquisitive when it comes to his game, always looking for ways to improve, not only with his strokes, but with strategy and his mental game. I find that the better high school players have the desire and support to spend time on their game in the offseason, and I am thankful for his passion to do what it takes to improve.”

When Miller first arrived at Kearsarge, he was the team’s fourth singles player and part of the second doubles pairing. This year, he worked his way up to the top slots for both.

“His lust for learning is refreshing, and at the rate he is going, I know he will continue to improve,” Lynn Miller said. “I can’t wait to see his continued improved performance in singles and doubles next year. I am very proud of Liam and his teammates for what they accomplished this year.”

Girls’ Track and Field: Ella Goulas, sophomore, Concord

The Crimson Tide boast one of the deepest groups of jumpers in the state, but this past season Goulas leaped past them all. The sophomore picked up several victories in multiple jumping events throughout the season and capped off the year with individual titles in the high jump at the Division I championship and Meet of Champions, in addition to qualifying for New Englands in the triple jump.

Goulas won the D-I title in a jump off, clearing 5 feet, 4 inches, and also won a jump off to claim the MOC crown, clearing 5-3. 

At the D-I championship, Goulas was scored 19 of Concord’s 46 points in the Tide’s fourth-place finish in D-I, thanks to her victory in the high jump (5-4), second-place finish in the triple jump (35-8) and her sixth-place finish in the long jump (16-8.25). 

Goulas finished third in the triple jump in at MOC to qualify for New Englands in both the triple and high jumps.

“Ella has a great mindset for competing,” Concord head coach Hayden Daly said. “She has the ability to process what she has done in previous jumps and adjust her approach to the event. She is a very positive person and that is infectious.”

Boys’ Track and Field: Gavin Demas, senior, Coe-Brown

When you are on a team as dominant as the Bears, it can be hard to stand out individually. The Coe-Brown boys’ track team set three D-II records and won six event titles at the Division II track and field championship, and with outstanding back-to-back performances at the D-II state meet and the Meet of Champions, plus a New England title, Demas gets the nod this season.

Demas won two titles at the D-II championship, the 800 meters  – in a D-II record time of 1 minute, 54.34 seconds – and also ran a leg on the champion 4x400 team to help the Bears win their fourth straight team title.

Demas’ record in the 800 set a record that was last broken in 2011 (by Oyster River’s Gubby Noronha), and he did it after already finishing fourth in the 1,600 (part of a 1-2-3-4 Coe-Brown sweep in the event).

Junior Jamie Lano, and seniors Matt Corriveau and Ben Robinson joined Demas on the 4x400, which ran a 3:27.89.

A week later, Demas was a double champion again, this time against the best in the entire state, winning the 800 meters in 1:55.08 and anchoring the champion 4x800 relay (8:09.38). 

Junior Sanjith Nomula, Lano and Robinson were his teammates on the 4x800.

Demas also ran on the third-place 4x400 at MOC, good enough to qualify for New Englands in all three events.

Demas ran his fastest 800 yet at New Englands, running a 1:53.74 split in the anchor leg to claim the 4x800 title with Lano, and seniors Tyler Tkaczyk and Aidan Cox.

“Gavin is a terrific kid who works hard day in and day out,” Coe-Brown co-head coach Lucas Fisher said. “He’s the first one up at the track and the last to leave. His dedication to the sport is why he had such an awesome season. He’s a great teammate and pushes to be the best version of hi mself every day.”

He will continue running t rack and field at NCAA Division I Eastern Kentucky University.