Saturday, July 23, 2016

LEGION STATE TOURNEY: Waterbury finds a way to win against Stratford in Middletown marathon

How many times can a team come back?
If you're Waterbury Post 1, the answer is three.
Waterbury faced three different deficits in its first game at the American Legion Southern Division Super Regionals on Saturday afternoon at Palmer Field in Middletown. Each time, Post 1 was able to come back.
The last rally won the game for Waterbury, 9-8 in 10 innings over Stratford. Stratford went ahead 8-7 with a run in the top of the 10th inning, then picked up the first two outs against Post 1 in the bottom frame.
Waterbury appeared done, then Elias Torres worked a walk. Down to his -- and his team's -- last strike, Matt Mancini singled to put runners on first and second. 
Post 1 was then handed a gift when a Stratford error on a ball hit by Nelson Merced allowed Torres to score. Mancini made it to third base, and Merced ended up at second.
That set things up for Peyton Stephens, and he singled to bring home Mancini and cap an incredible comeback.
Waterbury will face Stamford at 4 p.m. tomorrow at Palmer Field.
Post 1 trailed 4-0 before anyone picked up a bat. In the bottom of the third inning, Waterbury put together its first rally. Merced's ground rule double scored Elias Torres and got Post 1 on the board. Stephens whacked a double of his own to plate Mancini and Merced to cut the deficit to 4-3. A Brendan Bessette single brought Stephens home to tie the game.
Waterbury took a brief 5-4 lead in the fourth inning, only to see Stratford even the game at 5-5. The score remained that way until the eighth, when Stratford struck for two runs.
In the bottom of the eighth, Armando Torres led off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch, then brought Waterbury within 7-6 on Harris' RBI double. Harris got to third on an error, then scored on Elias Torres' single to tie the game at 7.
In the 10th, Stratford again took a lead, this time at 8-7. This time, however, Waterbury completed the comeback, showed the heart of a champion, and pulled off a stunning victory.
The Super Regionals are a double elimination format. The winner goes to the best-of-three State Championship series.

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