Sheehan silences Waterford

Waterford's Nolan Long gave the Lancers a chance by pitching four shutout innings on Monday, but Sheehan starter James Davitt pitched a one-hitter over two days to lift the Trojans to a 3-0 win and a spot in the Class L baseball semifinals.
Waterford's Nolan Long gave the Lancers a chance by pitching four shutout innings on Monday, but Sheehan starter James Davitt pitched a one-hitter over two days to lift the Trojans to a 3-0 win and a spot in the Class L baseball semifinals. Peter Huoppi/The Day Buy Photo

Waterford Waterford had no luck figuring out Sheehan pitcher James Davitt.

Not on Sunday when the Class L quarterfinal baseball game started and then was suspended in the third inning due to rain.

And not on Monday when the game resumed and Davitt was back on the mound.

The fourth-seeded Lancers managed just one hit and two baserunners over the two-day period in a 3-0 loss at Waterford High School.

Davitt, who struck out nine and walked nobody in a sparkling complete game effort, was just the type of pitcher that Waterford coach Art Peluso figured his team would struggle against in the state tournament. He mixed in three different pitches and stayed ahead of batters.

"He was consistently 0-and-2," Peluso said. "And he pounded the strike zone. He did a great job. ... The thing that was going to get us this year - and we talked about it - was a kid like that pitching."

Four of Waterford's five defeats this season came in low scoring games. The Lancers also lost 1-0, 2-1 and 2-0.

After junior Jordan Hamler pitched Sunday and allowed Brian Murphy's two-out RBI single in the first inning and Derek Allen's two-run double in the second, Peluso opted to go with senior Nolan Long on Monday.

It ended up being a good decision.

Long, who will play baseball at the University of Rhode Island next season, kept the Lancers within striking distance by pitching four scoreless innings.

"My job was to hold them to three runs and hopefully we could score some runs and pull it out," Long said. "Unfortunately, we couldn't do that."

Peluso explained his reasoning behind going with Nolan instead of saving the tall righthander for a potential semifinal game.

"You don't win today, you don't play tomorrow," Peluso said. "He didn't allow any runs. That's something you look back at, maybe I should have started him, but it comes down to we got one hit."

Offensively, the only glimmer of hope for the Lancers came in the fourth inning when senior James Annello singled to left field with two outs. But Davitt struck out Long looking to end the threat.

Prior to Annello's single, right fielder Murphy made a nice running catch in the gap to rob junior Kyle Willoughby.

Davitt looked as sharp on Monday as he did on Sunday when he needed just 17 pitches to complete the first two innings.

He retired the final 10 batters to close out the victory and send No. 19 Sheehan (14-9) into today's semifinals against No. 24 New Canaan at Palmer Field in Middletown.

The Lancers finished their season 19-5.

"This is a tough thing to swallow," said Long, who helped lead Waterford's basketball team to a state title this winter. "Obviously, we wanted to get to the finals and hopefully win it. We couldn't do it."

Despite the disappointing end, Peluso was pleased with the season.

"Overall, I can't complain," Peluso said. "It's always nice to go a little further."

g.keefe@theday.com

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