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Longview, Wash. — Waterford picked a bad time to play its worst game of the postseason.
The New England champions, despite erupting for 18 hits, committed seven errors and allowed Kelso (Wash.) to come back from a pair of five-run deficits to suffer a disappointing 13-10, 10-inning loss in the Babe Ruth Baseball 15-year-old World Series on Saturday night at David Story Field.
“That was the ugliest performance I have ever seen,” Waterford manager David Laffey said after his team fell to 0-2 in National Division pool play. “We were lackluster in the batting cage and we took that onto the field. Just awful.”
Waterford doesn’t get much chance to rest, returning to action today at 3:05 against unbeaten Lumber River (N.C.).
After opening the World Series with a 5-2 loss to Broomall/Newton (Pa.) on Thursday, Waterford was off Friday and took some time to relax and enjoy the Great Northwest. Some players and coaches ventured north to Seattle, while others crossed the Oregon state line to visit Cannon Beach and the Columbia River Gorge.
If there were any lingering effects Saturday night, it would have been tough to convince Kelso starter Sam Orth.
The boys in blue and red jumped all over Orth’s low velocity pitches and scored four runs in the first inning.
Cory Conderino began with outburst with a one-out infield single and Dan Castelpoggi followed suit. Chase Speller put Waterford on top 1-0 with a single to left and Justin Keating made it 3-0 with a two-run double. Keating moved to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch later to make it 4-0.
Orth was knocked out of the game an inning later when Cole Crawford began the second with a base hit and Castelpoggi picked up his second hit of the game with a ringing single off reliever Terris Record later in the inning to make it 5-0.
If Waterford thought this was going to be a free ride, however, it was wrong.
Kelso came storming back, aided in large part by some poor defensive choices by Waterford. Kelso, the tournament co-host with Longview, got two runs back in the third behind two hits and two Waterford errors.
An inning later, Waterford’s defense let it down again.
The fourth began with a Waterford error followed by Hunter Merly’s single to put runners at second and first. But that was only for an instant. In an attempt to get A.J. O’Neil at second, Waterford made another mistake and the runners advanced to second and third. Moments later an errant throw, Waterford’s third error of the inning, allowed both runners to score to cut the deficit to 5-4.
“You have to start thinking about the game as soon as you wake up,” Laffey said. “We made physical errors. We made mental errors. Defensively, we were horrible. We were just plain awful running the bases. And we looked like we had never practiced covering a bunt.”
Give Waterford credit, however, because it regrouped to score two runs in the bottom of the fourth (Keating had an RBI single) and two more in the fifth to regain a five-run cushion at 9-4. This time, Alex Petchark and Ben Pickowitz started the rally with back-to-back singles, and after advancing on a passed ball, pinch runner Doug Greene scored on a wild pitch and Tyler Yeomans singled home Pickowitz.
After Kelso came back with three runs in the top of the sixth to close the gap to 9-7, Castelpoggi doubled and scored on a base hit by Speller to give Waterford a 10-7 cushion heading into the final inning.
But Waterford wouldn’t score again, and after Kelso tied the game with three more runs in the seventh (Waterford left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning), Kelso took its only lead of the night with three runs in the 10th. Pitcher Yancy Bird did the rest, finishing his six innings of relief by ending the game with his 11th strikeout. Bird allowed just one run, one walk and silenced the Waterford hitters over the final four innings.
Castelpoggi was the star for Waterford, going 5-for-6 with a pair of doubles and tying a single-game World Series record for hits. Keating added a double and two singles while Yeomans and Petchark each had two hits.