Hamler, Waterford turn up the heat on Berlin

Waterford - An exhausted Jordan Hamler sat on the Waterford High School baseball field with a cold, wet towel covering his head.

"You want to talk to me?" Hamler asked a reporter. "Let's see if I can remember my name."

Berlin may not forget Hamler's name for a while. He beat the heat, and the Redcoats, with his arm and his bat in Waterford's 7-2 win in the CIAC Class L quarterfinals on Saturday.

Hamler pitched a six-hitter with seven strikeouts for the No. 2 Lancers (22-4). He also had two hits and three RBI.

"When everybody out in the field and in the dugout knows that he's a shutdown pitcher, it just makes the game a little easier for you," Waterford coach Art Peluso said. "Physically, he was struggling out there. He gets migraine headaches, I guess, on occasion. The heat and stuff, going from 30 degree weather to 55 degree weather to 90 degree weather ... there's no springtime anymore. He battled through it.

"We got some color back in his face the last few innings and he did what he had to do."

The Eastern Connecticut Conference champion Lancers will play No. 11 Notre Dame of West Haven in Tuesday's semifinals at 3:30 p.m. at Palmer Field in Middletown. ND trounced ECC runner-up Fitch 9-1 in its quarterfinal.

"Tired isn't even the word," Hamler said about how he felt. "I'm really exhausted. I just couldn't come out. I just wanted to do this for my team. They deserve it. They work hard for hits, and I just wanted to work hard for them. And I knew they've got my back, and I wanted to get their back."

No. 10 Berlin finished 15-8.

Will Sherman went 2-for-3 with three runs for Waterford while Kyle Willoughby went 3-for-4, including a triple, and scored twice. Seth Hoagland also went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run.

The Lancers had 13 hits, 12 of which they put up against Redcoats' starter Connor Bennett.

Waterford also scored four of its runs with two outs.

"We've been doing it for two weeks," Peluso said. "We got on a roll, and we've stayed on a roll.

"We've faced a lot of these soft-throwing lefties, which at the beginning of the year we struggled with. But we saw so many of them that we started adapting and got a little better. I guess it paid off."

Playing in the baseball-rich ECC has also paid dividends for the Lancers.

"The two (left-handed pitchers) from East Lyme, (Jordan) Bartlett and (Cole) Tretter, they were excellent," Peluso said. "Then we saw (Zach) Podurgiel from NFA two times. He beat us once. He was similar to this kid."

Hamler hit a two-run double in the first inning to give Waterford a 2-0 lead.

Berlin got a run back in the fourth. The Lancers answered with three more runs in their half of the inning.

Willoughby hit a leadoff triple and scored on Adam Goss' single. Hoagland added a two-out, two-run single to push Waterford ahead 5-1.

The Lancers' Sam Strout beat out an infield single with two outs in the fifth inning to score Willoughby.

Hamler hit a two-out, RBI single in the sixth.



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