The game didn’t have any meaning to it in terms of the semifinals implications, but the 9 and 10-year old Little League squad from Waterford South wasn’t going to just sit this one out and relax.
Waterford handily defeated Lincoln, R.I. last night, 17-2, in the final game of pool play of the East Region Invitational in Cranston, R.I. Both teams clinched a New England title game berth the day before, thus the teams will square off again today.
“We knew that we had to come out and still play a game,” Waterford manager Bill Speller said. “We didn’t need to change anything. We just needed to go at our pace that we’ve been going for the last seven or eight weeks and I’m very proud because that’s what they did.”
Waterford scored a run in each of the four innings and got started at the plate in a hurry. The first eight batters reached base via five walks, two singles and a fielder’s choice and pushed across four runs in the first. Dylan Bosco pulled a solo home run to left in the second to start the five-run frame. Nicholas Parazzi and Daniel Annibalini also hit RBI singles in the inning.
A seven-run third inning was Waterford’s most successful turn at the plate, highlighted by Eric Pinch’s three-run double to left-center. Waterford sent ten batters up in the inning and made the lead 16-1. Speller said that patience with the bats but making contact with good pitches as well is something he has been mentoring them on for some time.
“That’s something we teach and we drill them on fundamentals,” Speller said. “Being patient at the plate, seeing the ball, hitting the ball, seeing the bat hit the ball. They’re doing an excellent job at it.”
Lincoln struggled with its bats, collecting two hits. A number of batted balls by Lincoln for a moment appeared it could sneak by the infield but instead ended up being outs due to the tight Waterford defense. Carlin Aguiar and Patrick Gribbin each got base hits for Lincoln.
“We didn’t like we’d like to hit, that was my only concern tonight,” Lincoln manager Gordon Zaniol said.
Speller believes that the team can take the momentum into today’s game.
“They (Lincoln) are a better team, I don’t say we’re going to beat them like this tomorrow but I think we’ll be there,” Speller said. “We’re a definite team to battle with. We’ll be there.”
Despite the loss, Zaniol is just happy to make it to the New England finals, the team’s objective all along.
“Our goal was to get to Friday. We’re there and now it’s game on,” Zaniol said.
Both teams play today at 5 p.m. and the winner will play in the East Region championship game Saturday at 1 p.m.