State of Sports: If UNH had a baseball team ...

Apr. 19—SOME OF YOU may remember when the University of New Hampshire had a Division I baseball program. For those who don't, here's a brief history lesson.

UNH eliminated baseball — along with several other sports — following the 1997 season, and cited financial reasons when it did so. The program was cut two years after setting a single-season school record for victories (26).

Whether or not UNH should have kept baseball has been debated, and no doubt will be debated in the future. La Salle University announced this week that it was reinstating its baseball program, but any chance of UNH baseball returning seems remote. What was the baseball field is now a rectangular turf field (Tucker Field) and the future home of UNH men's soccer.

Here's one argument for why UNH should have kept baseball: It's perhaps the only sport the school could be competitive in at the Division I level with only New Hampshire residents. Not every player would have elected to remain in-state, of course, but the following gives you some idea of what an all-New Hampshire lineup might look like this year:

OUTFIELD: Calvin Hewett (Greenland/Vanderbilt)

Hewett is batting .294 and is tied for the team lead in stolen bases (18). Hewett won two Division II championships during his three seasons at Portsmouth High School.

OUTFIELD: Connor Hujsak (Goffstown/Mississippi State)

A converted shortstop, Hujsak now patrols center field. He ranks third among Mississippi State players in both batting average (.317) and home runs (seven). He played at Goffstown High School and began his college career at Virginia Commonwealth.

OUTFIELD: Keegan Calero (Rochester/Dayton)

Injured when the season began, Calero entered the weekend batting .420. He played shortstop at Spaulding High School and UMass Lowell, but moved to the outfield after he transferred to Dayton.

Another outfield option is Concord's Nater Wachter, who's hitting .306 in his freshman season at Southern New Hampshire University.

FIRST BASE: Alec Burns (Amherst/Gardner-Webb)

Burns, who attended Souhegan High School, leads Gardner-Webb in batting average (.324) and OPS (1.003). He's also tied for third in home runs (six).

You could also have Exeter's Will MacLean as a backup at first. MacLean, who played for St. Thomas Aquinas High School, began his college career at UMass and is batting .279 in 33 games with Creighton.

SECOND BASE: Brady Day (Hampstead/Kansas State)

Day, a Pinkerton Academy graduate, ranks third among Big 12 hitters in batting average (.388), second in on-base percentage (.506) and fourth in RBIs (41). Likely an early-round draft selection.

SHORTSTOP: Myles Sargent (Greenland/Maine)

Although he may be a better fit at second base, Sargent will have to slide over to fill a position of need. A former standout at Portsmouth High School, Sargent enters the weekend as Maine's leading hitter with a .324 batting average. (If there's Division I baseball in Orono, there should be Division I baseball in Durham.)

Waiting in the wings is current Pinkerton shortstop Brendan Horne, a Hooksett resident who has committed to Vanderbilt.

THIRD BASE: Brandon Fish (Londonderry/UMass Lowell)

Fish, a standout at Londonderry High School, is batting .300 in 32 games for the River Hawks.

Portsmouth's Justin Blumenthal is another option at third. Blumenthal led UMass with a .361 batting average as a freshman last season.

CATCHER: Nolan Elmore (Brentwood/Saint Anselm)

You're not sacrificing any offense with Elmore behind the plate. He leads Saint Anselm in most offensive categories, including batting average (.342), runs (24), hits (38), doubles (12) home runs (five), RBIs (27), slugging percentage (.586) and on-base percentage (.438).

PITCHERS: Connor Fennell (Londonderry/Dayton), Liam Doyle (Derry/Mississippi), Joe Allen (Hampton Falls/Clemson), Jonah Wachter (Concord/Tulane) and Parker Lendrum (Exeter/SNHU).

Four of these pitchers are at high-level Division I programs, but Lendrum would likely be a weekend starter. He's 5-1 with a 2.94 ERA this season.

Don't forget about Aidan O'Connell, a lefty who's pitching for Avon (Conn.) Old Farms prep school before he enrolls at Vanderbilt next season. O'Connell was the Gatorade Player of the Year at Bedford High School last season.