Burrows flirts with another no-hitter as Waterford edges Stonington in ECC tourney

Waterford — It might have been tempting for Mike Burrows, the whiz kid pitcher from Waterford High School, to have looked up at the heavens Wednesday night and said, "really?"

Picture it: Burrows, all but unhittable, was one out away from a no-hitter, 15 strikeouts in. Who'd have ever believed he needed to record the final out while Stonington had the tying and go-ahead runs aboard?

"Just my luck," Burrows said with a wry grin, following his 16th strikeout, the game's final out, that preserved Waterford's 1-0 win in the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament quarterfinals.

The second-seeded Lancers (16-4) advanced to Thursday's semifinals against No. 3 Griswold against at 4 p.m. at Fitch High School. No. 5 East Lyme will play No. 8 Ledyard in the other semifinal at 7 p.m.

Burrows finished with a one-hitter, having gone 6.2 no-hit innings before Jaden Stefanski grounded a single through the right side. No. 10 Stonington, the defending tournament champion, had runners on second and third before Burrows struck out Sam Casadei to end it.

"That was a good piece of hitting," Burrows said, alluding to Stefanski's single.

Burrows, who no-hit Stonington earlier this season, was supposed to throw 60 pitches. He hung around for the duration because he was efficient (82 pitches for the game) and perhaps because the musings from the Stonington dugout perhaps offered some motivation.

"I'm motivated by the entire game," Burrows said.

Burrows also earned the 300th strikeout of his career in the third inning.

"His pitch count wasn't that high and he'll have six days off before the state tournament anyway," Waterford coach Art Peluso said.

The only run of the game came in the bottom of the first. After Nick Porazzi singled, Walker Sutman lined an RBI double to deep center, a ball that continued to carry over center fielder Kevin Ferrer's head.

"High school kids aren't used to playing 320 feet away and seeing balls hit with that velocity," Peluso said. "Walker has done that a few times this year. It's a hard thing to replicate in practice and you almost never see it in the game at this level."

The Lancers wasted a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity in the sixth. Stefanski, who pitched a three-hitter, escaped the jam with a pair of ground balls. He also benefitted from several outstanding defensive plays from shortstop R.J. Parilla.

"I'm glad we got the win," Burrows said. "The 300 strikeouts this is great and a no-hitter would have been, too. But we won. That's really all that matters."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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