Waterford 15s win Babe Ruth state championship
Waterford - Waterford didn't let a little thing like a 3-0 deficit spoil it's party.
The District 6 champions bounced back to beat Stamford 6-4 in the Connecticut Babe Ruth baseball 15-year-old tournament title game Saturday.
"Being down doesn't phase these guys,'' said Waterford coach Dave Laffey.
Because they know how to win in Waterford.
Most of the Waterford players were on last year's 14-year-old state championship team and some of their fathers won titles, too. The championship was the 13th for the program - and fourth in the 15-year-old division.
"It's good because we've got the experience,'' said Waterford's Corey Conderino. "But it's bad sometimes because people expect us to win.''
Expectations were met as Conderino and Justin Keating homered and drove in two runs each for Waterford, which will play in the New England tournament in Manchester, N.H. Play begins on Aug. 2.
Stamford, the home team in the game, scored three times in the third for a 3-0 lead. But the lead could have been much bigger. Stamford loaded the bases in the first inning with one out. But a botched squeeze got Nick Frataroli tagged out in a rundown between third and home and Waterford starter Steve Gerovitz got Dan Bernard to fly out to right for the third out.
"That was huge,'' said Laffey. "Bases loaded and they don't score.''
Waterford answered Stamford's three runs with four in the top of the fourth inning and wouldn't trail again.
Mike Rocchetti drew a leadoff walk and Conderino followed with his second home run in as many days, an arching two-run shot to rightfield that he says came off a high curveball.
"That was a big morale booster for us,'' said Rocchetti.
Dan Castelpoggi followed the homer with a single and Chase Speller walked. Keating then singled to center to score Castelpoggi and Speller came all the way around to score when the ball was misplayed.
"I knew we'd hit when we got down to the second time in the order,'' said Laffey.
Waterford added a run in the fifth when Jake Gannon doubled with two outs and scored on Rocchetti's single to left. Stamford scored in the bottom of the fifth to make it 5-4 but Keating put an exclamation point on the win with a two-out laser over the 330-foot mark in left-centerfield in the sixth inning.
"That's when we put the game into overdrive,'' said Rocchetti.
Tyler Howser earned the win in relief, allowing two hits over 3 2-3 innings. He combined with Gerovitz to pitch a seven-hitter.
Waterford, which got two hits each from Keating and Conderino, did have a tough day in the field. Three errors made all four Stamford runs unearned.
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