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Glen Allen, Va. — Waterford was ahead by a run going into the bottom of the seventh inning and only needed three outs to secure its first win of the Babe Ruth League 13-year-old World Series.
Two outs later, however, the tables had turned completely on Waterford as Greenville (N.C.) walked off with a 3-2 win courtesy of a wild pitch on Monday night at RF&P Park.
Waterford is now 0-2 in American Division pool play and must win its final two games - and get help - to advance to Thursday's quarterfinals. The New England champions play Virginia champion Gainesville-Haymarket (2-0) today at 4 p.m.
The bottom of the seventh started off well for Waterford as starting pitcher Bobby Silva recorded a strikeout. Zach Nicholson began Greenville's comeback with a single before Tyrone King pinch-ran and subsequently stole second during David Dobson's at-bat.
Dobson grounded to shortstop Trevor Yeomans, who bobbled the ball before throwing too late to get King out at third.
Dylan Bosco relieved Silva and had what many of the Waterford faithful thought was strike three on the next hitter - Grant Jorman - but the umpire thought otherwise.
"(Bosco) threw a very good pitch 2-2 there," Waterford coach Dan Santos said. "I thought it was a very good pitch, but the umpire didn't think so."
Instead of a strikeout, King scored the tying run moments later when Jorman was out at first on a fielder's choice.
Dobson, who stole second base during Jorman's at-bat, advanced to third on the ground ball and scored the game-winner with an enthusiastic head-first slide into home when the very next pitch was wild.
"The kids played really hard," Santos said. "I don't think they were rewarded for their good efforts at the end of the game."
Waterford broke though offensively in the top of the sixth for its first run in 10 innings of play in Virginia. Max Adams singled, then was brought home by Bosco's double. Peter Turello, who had reached by an error by the second baseman, scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
"We took some (batting practice) this morning, which I think helped out a lot," Santos said. "The kids were more ready to go today. They came to play and they played very well. I thought we played well enough to win the game."
Waterford worked out of an early jam in the first inning after a questionable call at third base. Following a single by Jorman and a walk to Syncere Pittman, Silva delivered a pitch that popped out of catcher Noah Speller's glove. Jorman and Pittman advanced, and Speller delivered a throw to third far ahead of the runner, but the umpire rule Jorman safe.
Silva, however, struck out Jake Rogers and got Jordan Atkinson to pop out to second to end the threat.
Silva dueled with Greenville pitcher Hayden Byars through the entire game. While Waterford survived some early jams with solid defensive play, Greenville (1-2). was aided by a couple of Waterford baserunning mistakes, including the fourth inning when Turello was caught in a rundown for the third out.
Despite the tough start, Santos believes his team is mentally tough enough to get over Monday's loss and secure its first win of the tournament.
"Our kids respond great to pressure situations, through regionals and everything," he said. "We've always had our backs against the wall and I think they'll bring it (today)."