Waterford — The Waterford Babe Ruth baseball team began Saturday with a loss in the 14-year-old state championship round.
Before the day was finished, it was a state champion.
Waterford scored five runs with two outs in the top of the first inning and used that to beat Simsbury, 10-5, in the "if necessary" game of the championship round.
"The kids believed that they could win, that we were the better team and they went out and proved it," Waterford coach Joe Mariani said. "I told them (before the game), 'it doesn't matter what you think, it's what you do on the field.'"
Waterford advanced to the New England tournament in Westfield, Mass., where the it will face the Rhode Island state champion on Friday at 1 p.m.
The first game of the championship round was suspended due to darkness Friday with Simsbury leading 15-11 in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and one out.
Waterford's Dylan Konakowitz came on in relief Saturday and got his team out of a jam. Simsbury still won, 15-11, but Waterford gained some confidence.
"Konakowitz gave us the spark because he threw very well and they didn't score," Mariani said. "He could've come in and they could've knocked him around.
"We didn't score, but we had a little momentum going into the second game."
Waterford scored five runs with two outs in the top of the first inning to start the second game.
"It was a huge boost to the kids," Mariani said. "They were motivated."
Jesse Coates and Tom Pezzolesi each hit two-run doubles to give Waterford a 4-0 lead.
Mike McDermott added an RBI single.
Griffin Archambault had three hits and two runs for Waterford while Pezzolesi had two hits and two runs. Coates added three hits.
Connor Lewis pitched the first three innings for Waterford and Adam Goss came on in relief and pitched the final four innings to earn the victory.