Waterford South captures District 10 LL baseball title
Waterford - The outside of the left field fence was free of parked cars Friday at Waterford South's Paterson Field, unusual since that's traditionally prime real estate.
That's because earlier in the week Waterford South unloaded for six home runs in one District 10 tournament game, likely causing drivers to leave their vehicles farther away this time.
Good thing, too.
Michael Burrows' game-ending, three-run home run was scorched to left, still on a line as it reached the parking lot in the bottom of the fourth inning, putting the final touches on the district championship for the Waterford South Little League baseball team (ages 11-12).
Waterford South beat Mystic 10-0, getting a one-hit shutout from left-handed pitcher Walker Sutman. That sends Waterford South to the pool play round of the Section II state tournament beginning Wednesday in Mansfield.
Burrows, 2-for-3 with a double, home run and four RBI, and Sutman were co-Most Valuable Players for Waterford South.
"When he pitched it, I thought if he threw it down the middle, I wanted to take it somewhere and drive in those two runs," said Burrows of the three-run homer, which ended the game due to the 10-run mercy rule. "I just happened to hit a home run. ... All the way through our lineup, you can count on everyone."
Waterford South scored three runs in the second inning, getting its first run on a suicide squeeze bunt by Trevor Yeomans to push across Dylan Bosco. Kiernan Waldron added an RBI single and No. 9 hitter Chris Persi hit a sacrifice fly.
Burrows had an RBI double and Bosco hit a two-run homer to give Waterford South three more runs in the third, making it 6-0, and Sutman had an RBI double in the fourth just prior to Burrows' home run.
"The fact of the matter is with Little League, the balls are pumped up, the bats are pumped up, the kids are allowed to turn 13 now during the season," Waterford manager Tom Burrows said. "It's lifted the game to another level."
For those reasons, Burrows knows he's lucky to have the pitching combination he has. His son Michael, a right-handed pitcher, and Sutman complement each other well.
Michael, who was the only 11-year-old on last year's South team which won the district's 11-12 title, gave up one run during this year's tournament. Sutman, who was on last year's 10-11 team all-star team, gave up only two.
"Even with the souped up bats," Tom Burrows said. "... Most teams have that one kid. We have two. That's a fortunate thing for me.
"We had both guys ready to go, but it was (Sutman's) turn to pitch. I have 100 percent confidence in him; he has a tailing fastball that makes it difficult to hit."
Sutman pitched out of a jam in the third inning against Mystic, hitting a pair of batters to load the bases with two outs and Waterford South leading just 3-0. He got a groundout, however, from Mystic cleanup hitter Josh Georgetti to end the inning.
"I was pitching from the stretch and I went back to the windup," Sutman said of what he did to get back his control. "I like both, but I was feeling more comfortable in my windup."
The 12-year-old pitchers on this level are limited to 85 pitches and Sutman used 24 of them in that inning.
"Sometimes, when I'm high in my pitch count, I just throw strikes and don't worry about hitting the corners," Sutman said.
Sutman, Burrows and Bosco each had two hits and two runs scored for Waterford South. Sutman struck out six, walked one and hit two batters in the four innings.
Vin Baker had Mystic's only hit to lead off the third.
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