Souhegan’s Dod will return for 50th year in dugout

It looks like Bill Dod will be having fun for one more season.

After that? The only coach the Souhegan High School baseball team has ever known, didn’t say.

But if one reads between the lines, it looks as if next spring will be Dod’s swan song for coaching.

And it seems like it’s fitting to work out that way, according to the numbers.

“I will definitely be here next year,” Dod, the all-time winningest high school baseball coach in New Hampshire history with 543 victories, said. “Next year will be my 50th year coaching. That’s an accomplishment for everybody who’s put up with me for 50 years, for my family for allowing me to do this for 50 years. I’ll definitely be here.

“You ask me that question and I’ll give you the answer next year. You know what the answer is. You know what the answer is. Then we’ll sit and talk.”

Dod’s came Monday night after the Sabers fell to Portsmouth, 5-0, in the Division II finals,

Dod, who also has coached at Sanborn, Bishop Guertin and Milford, would love to have his program mirror what the Clippers did this season. Portsmouth had nine first-year varsity players, as they lost nine seniors from the previous runner-up season.

“People say the team to beat going into the year, and they included us,” Clippers coach Tim Hopley said. “That’s all fine and good. But realistically when you have nine first-year varsity players, you’re not banking on a return trip to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium unless you buy a ticket. These guys never took that as an answer. They just came in every single day and worked to get better. For us as coaches, it was a blast.”

The Sabers will have a different look next year, but it will be built around at least two mainstays, shortstop Bryce Reagan and, presumably, infielder-pitcher Alec Burns. Burns missed the semis and finals due to disciplinary reasons.

“We’ll be a different team,” Dod said. “We lose nine seniors. Three outfielders. We’ll give it some time and put next season together and go from there.”

“It was a lot of fun being here,” Souhegan senior pitcher Owen Batchelder said. “And these kids (returning Sabers) have a bright future.”

The Sabers aren’t overflowing with numbers, as successful a program as it has been. At least three seniors played junior varsity ball this spring just to be able to help fill out the program at that level.

“When we started here, we had three teams, freshman, junior varsity and varsity,” Dod said. “And now we’re just barely. … To be honest, I have to thank the three seniors for playing down this year. A lot of seniors would have walked away, and we would have lost the (JV) program.”

But Dod says there’s a brighter future.

“We met with all the eighth graders, we had a great meeting with them,” Dod said. “We’ve always had to, but now we have to do it more.”

One of the reasons is the immense popularity of lacrosse.

“It’s a lacrosse hotbed,” Dod said. “But as I say that, I’m in the right place.”

For one more season. After that, well, we know the answer.

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