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Waterford — They actually lost a baseball tournament in the 06385 the other day. No, really. Which is what made Saturday morning another illustration that the people of Waterford have a low threshold for calamity.
By early afternoon, they were winners, all right with the world again, following Waterford's 9-1 win over Tri-County and the district Babe Ruth 14 championship at the Waterford Babe Ruth Field. Their reward is a 170-mile round trip date in the state tournament in New Milford.
"Bob (Bono, president of Waterford Babe Ruth) was like, 'well, we can't win three now,'" Waterford coach Joe Mariani said, alluding to the Waterford 13-year-olds' loss to East Lyme in the title game. "But you know, this is hard. They're kids. We work with them as hard as we can. But they're going to make mistakes. They're 13, 14, 15 years old."
Waterford made a few Saturday. Four errors. Perhaps that's why it wasn't immediately evident to Mariani that pitchers Mike Burrows and T.J. McBride combined on a no-hitter.
Burrows went six innings, struck out nine, walked one and hit a batter, although his defense made four errors behind him. McBride worked a hitless seventh, but walked three and hit a batter.
"Mike threw great," Mariani said. "Arguably, the three (starting) pitchers we have with Michael, Collin (Bakken) and Walker (Sutman) could be the best 1-2-3 (combination) in the state of Connecticut at 14. They're good. Walker's back has been bothering him and it takes a big bat, speed and another arm out of the equation. Such a great kid, too."
Waterford broke a scoreless tie in the third inning with five runs. Burrows' two-run double scored McBride and Bakken before Glen Faber, Mason Knutson and Chris Persi produced run-scoring hits.
Bakken, Faber and Alec Donahue drove in runs during a four-run sixth.
Matt Driscoll had two hits for Waterford, while Jayson Page and Ed Aledia also scored runs.
Waterford still has a chance to win the Little League (11-12) title and the district Babe Ruth 15 title, a tournament which began Saturday. Not to mention the state 14-year-old championship.
"I know we have good pitching," Mariani said. "But we gave away some at-bats today. We can't do that anymore. We've got to work on more consistent output."