Vikes adjust in time to beat Lancers
Waterford - Jordan Bartlett, his East Lyme High School uniform jersey billowing in a chilly breeze, was in a jam Tuesday afternoon.
Waterford's Connor Lewis led off the fourth inning against Bartlett, a left-handed pitcher, with a double to the right-center field gap. Bartlett hit Seth Hoagland with a pitch, then gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Jordan Hamler and Kyle Willoughby, the Lancers teeing off on Bartlett's fastball as they mounted a 2-1 lead.
There was still nobody out.
Then Bartlett adjusted.
"I just knew I was throwing it up in the zone. Me and my catcher Austin Toback talked about mixing up the fastball more with offspeed and more working around the knees," Bartlett said.
"I'm definitely comfortable throwing that (offspeed). I've done some tweaking of it in my bullpen sessions."
Bartlett, with two men on, proceeded to retire the side in order after that in the fourth and allowed just two more baserunners the rest of the way, allowing East Lyme to come back for a 3-2 victory in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Large Division.
East Lyme scored two in the top of the fifth, getting a two-run single by Jordan Beaulieu for the eventual game-winner.
That brought East Lyme (6-4 overall) back into the mix in the ECC Large Division at 2-2. Waterford, meanwhile, dropped out of a first-place tie in the division with Fitch, going to 6-2 overall, 3-1 in the Large.
Bartlett pitched a four-hitter with five strikeouts, three walks and a hit batter.
In what was a well-pitched game on both sides, Waterford ace Hamler did not allow an earned run. He gave up six hits, striking out six and walking two.
"You've got to hit the ball," Waterford coach Art Peluso said. "We had a couple guys on second and third (in the fourth) and we didn't do what we had to do. ... (Hamler) pitched a pretty good game, considering the weather and it's tough to feel your curveball.
"But it's still April. One game in April is not going to make or break you."
East Lyme scored one in the first inning when the Vikings' first two hitters, Toback and Anthony Carambot, opened with singles. Hamler sent an errant pickoff throw into center field to allow the runners to advance.
Adam Rigney grounded out to second base to drive in Toback, making it 1-0.
Then, after Waterford took the lead, East Lyme scored twice more in the fifth. Ryan Nickerson reached on an error and Jack Livingston bunted him to second. Toback grounded out to move the runner to third and Carambot and Rigney walked to load the bases. Beaulieu's hit to left scored two.
Bartlett retired Waterford in order in the bottom of the fifth, getting two strikeouts and a deep fly ball to Carambot in center field. Waterford managed to push runners into scoring position in the sixth and seventh, but Bartlett stranded them.
Carambot made several nice plays in center, including stealing a hit from Hamler in the second inning, grabbing a line shot off his shoestrings.
"He's pitched some big games for us since his sophomore year," East Lyme coach Jack Biggs said of Bartlett. "He's doing a nice job as a senior leader. ... It was a good high school baseball game. We didn't beat ourselves today and that's something we've been working on. That's how competitive the ECC is; one game can swing you the other way."
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