Quincy, Mass. - One win. That's all that separated the Waterford Babe Ruth 15-year-old team between itself and a New England championship Wednesday.
Heck, even if Waterford lost the opener to Pittsfield, Mass., it would get a second chance. Pittsfield had come out of the losers' bracket and was guaranteed, at worse, a decisive winner-take-all title game.
Instead, everything went as bad as it could get for Waterford.
Pittsfield swept the Connecticut champions, 8-6 and 9-0, to win the title at Adams Field.
"It was just one thing after another," Waterford manager Kevin Irvine said. "These players really played hard. It's sad this is the way it turned out for them."
The two losses weren't even the worst thing that happened. Pinch hitter Griffin Beaney hit what would have been a single in the top of the seventh inning, but he fell onto home plate after injuring his left knee.
The game was delayed for nearly 30 minutes before Beaney was carried off on a stretcher.
"A brutal ending to a brutal day right there," Irvine said. "That pretty much sums up our entire night."
Waterford hoped to go a step further than it did last season. It won the state 14-year-old state championship, but was stopped at the New Englands.
"This team, the last three years, it was a great run," Waterford's Adam Goss said. "They're my family. They'll be my family until the day I die. I trust them with my life. It didn't go the way we wanted it to, but we battled until the end."
Jesse Coates added: "It was a good three years with this crew. I love them to death, and we'll have these memories until were 60 years old, sitting around talking to each other.
"It's sad how close we came, but it was a good run."
Coates and Goss were both named to the all-tournament team. Pittsfield's Stephen Witkowski pitched a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts in the decisive game. He was named tournament MVP.
"He kept us off balance," Irvine said. "He had a good curve. We just couldn't get any hard hit balls against him. It was tough. He's a great player. He's a great pitcher. He had a lot of good players on the team backing him up."
Dom Traversa went 5-for-6, including a double, with four runs and three RBI for Pittsfield in the two games.
Sam Strout had two hits and two runs in the first game for Waterford, and Goss added a double, two RBI and a run. Coates also two hits, including a triple, and two RBI.
Kyle Chung had Waterford's only hit in the second game. Waterford didn't help itself by commiting four errors.
"We were a little down after losing that first (game)," Irvine said.
Pittsfield jumped on Waterford right away in the second game, taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
The game spiraled out of control for Waterford in the bottom of the third. Pittsfield scored four runs on just two hits and two Waterford errors.
"These kids, I'm so proud of how far we came," Irvine said. "Even though it's kind of a bitter ending, these kids really battled and really played their hearts out."