Waterford comes up short in the Babe Ruth 14 title game
New Milford - If external circumstances weren't enough Saturday to make all things New Milford eminently forgettable - dark scoreboard, eager insects, 85-mile ride one way - the result of the game was certainly successful.
And so it turns out that Waterford actually does lose a big baseball game on occasion, this one the state Babe Ruth 14-year-old championship game.
Trumbull scored four in the first and four in the sixth, earning an 8-2 victory at Volunteer Field and a berth in the New England Regionals in Westfield, Mass., likely not much longer of a drive.
"We were so emotional in that first inning and from there we just kind of dropped," Waterford coach Joe Mariani said. "They just hit it a little better than we did."
Waterford scored twice in the first inning against eventual winning pitcher Andrew Lojko … and then never again.
Glen Faber's two-run double to left in the first - nearly a home run at a field that also plays host to New Milford's American Legion team - gave this game a similar look to most of Waterford's Babe Ruth championship games at various levels: just a matter of time before the celebration.
"We had been swinging the bats well," Mariani said. "Knowing Mike (Burrows) was on the hill for us, let's just say I had a very good feeling. Their coach said it was the hardest (Lojko) had been hit all year."
Then came the bottom of the first. Burrows walked the first two hitters, both of whom scored later. Trumbull scored four runs.
"Mike pitched great," Mariani said. "They can hit. Mike's played a lot of travel baseball and is used to big games. At the beginning of the tournament, this is where we wanted to be. With Mike and Colin (Bakken, the winner in the semifinals) ready to go."
Waterford didn't threaten much after the first inning, although Burrows kept it 4-2 into the sixth. That's when Trumbull scored four more times, ultimately leaving Waterford in the unfamiliar position of watching others celebrate.
"I'm proud of what the kids did. We had a great tournament," Mariani said. "Just at the end they hit it a little better than we did. They are a big team, well coached. I loved coaching these kids. And I'll love watching them go to high school and hearing Art (varsity coach Art Peluso) say how well they compete."
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