Waterford beats Lewis Mills 4-0 to win Class M baseball championship

Middletown — Waterford painted a masterpiece in the Class M baseball final on Friday night.

The performance belonged in the baseball wing of the Louvre.

The Lancers were that good while capturing the program's 10th state title with a 4-0 shutout of fourth-seeded Lewis Mills before about 1,200 fans at Palmer Field. It was their first state crown since 2005.

"It was a perfect day for us," senior Dylan Bosco said. "Just perfect."

Third-seeded Waterford leaned on junior Michael Burrows, who was sensational while pitching a complete game. He allowed two hits, walked just one and struck out 15, including the last six batters. His sound defense made all the plays behind him.

"He saw the finish line and lights came on," Waterford coach Art Peluso said. "Talent does that. ... He was electric. There were no answers. His stuff was too good."

After Burrows recorded another strikeout for the final out, the Lancers stormed the mound and smothered the right-hander.

"It was amazing," Burrows said. "Striking out the side to end the game was huge. That just was the pinnacle of the year right there. Having everybody come out and jump on me was awesome."

The championship game pressure certainly didn't rattle the Lancers, who credit positive energy for their magical late-season run.

They took the field focused and ready to go.

"Were they loose?" Peluso said. "Yeah, they were jumping around here. They have confidence. Confidence creates looseness. And they had confidence coming into this game that they were going to win it. They had Mike on the mound. How could you not have confidence?"

Waterford, which averaged 11 runs in the first four tournament games, managed just six hits — all of which came during the two scoring outbursts — against Lewis Mills junior Kyle Alvarez, who pitched well in defeat.

A two-run third inning broke the scoreless tie.

Senior Daniel Castelpoggi led off with a double down the left field line and easily scored on senior Collin Bakken's single. After a sacrifice bunt, Bosco blooped an RBI single to right for a 2-0 edge.

That's all Burrows needed.

Burrows started out by striking out the side in the first inning and kept baffling batters. Lewis Mills had only four baserunners the entire game.

"I was 90 percent fastballs the entire way until I got to the second time through the order when they started seeing the curve balls and messing up even more," Burrows said. "That was really effective."

In the fifth, Burrows wiggled out of his only jam. He issued his first walk and then allowed junior Mich Restart's two-out single. But William Coughlin flew out to end the threat.

Waterford extended the gap to 4-0 in the sixth. Senior Alex Petchark laced a one-out triple down the right field line and scored on Burrows' double. Senior Tyler Yeomans added a two-out RBI double.

Burrows finished off the Spartans and added this year's team to a long list of the program's state champions.

"This is one of the greatest moments of my life," Bosco said. "I'm so happy. I've spent my whole baseball career just fighting for this moment. Now that I'm finally here, it's just a dream. ... I've lived in Waterford my whole life and always played baseball for Waterford. Just to know that I'm going to be part of history, I love it."

g.keefe@theday.com

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