Waterford - East Lyme remains in the thick of the Eastern Connecticut Conference Large Division baseball race, thanks in no small part to Pete Gonski.
The senior right-hander pitched a three-hitter Tuesday as the Vikings beat Waterford 1-0. The loss drops Waterford (11-3 overall) into a tie with East Lyme at 5-2, one game behind league-leading Fitch (6-1).
"I think it was sink or swim for us,'' East Lyme coach Jack Biggs said. "We climbed back in the race.''
Gonski (6-1) struck out 11 with one walk, outdueling the Lancers' Nolan Long.
"Pete's been pitching like that all season, and that's without run support,'' said Biggs. "I think that's the best hitting team in the league.''
Only three Waterford runners reached second base, and nobody got as far at third.
"My curveball was working, but I got a lot of my strikeouts on the changeup,'' Gonski said. "This game was huge for us. They've got some great batters in that lineup. They can all hit.'
The run, which was unearned, came in the top of the fourth. Zach Kane drew a lead-off walk and took second on a passed ball. He moved to third on a sacrifice by Gonski and scored when Austin Toback beat out an infield single.
Gonski did have to work out of trouble in the last two innings. Waterford's James Annello doubled with one out in the sixth, but Gonski got Kyle Willoughby to fly out and escaped the inning when Long's deep liner was tracked down by centerfielder Anthony Carambot.
Pinch-hitter Nik Lehet singled with one out in the seventh and continued to second on a throwing error. But Gonski induced a pair of groundouts to finish things off.
Toback had two hits for East Lyme (11-4).
Long (4-1) only allowed three hits over 5 1-3 innings with five strikeouts, but he walked six. He also pitched out of trouble most of the game, as East Lyme put its leadoff hitter on in five of the first six innings.
"Nolan mentioned that, that the leadoff runners were killing him,'' Waterford coach Art Peluso said. "He gutted it out today.''
Peluso, despite the positive comments from the other dugout, isn't sold on his offense.
"I don't know about the best hitting team in the league. We struck out 11 times today,'' Peluso said. "We only score one run against Fitch (last Friday) and we don't score today. We've got some things to work on, but we'll get it straightened out."