It was a little close for comfort at the end, but Waterbury Post 1 emerged with a 5-3 win over Hamden Post 88 on Wednesday afternooon at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.
It was the first game of a best-of-three Southern Division "Regional" series. Waterbury can move on to the "Super Regionals" by beating Hamden in one of two games to be played at Bucks Hills Park tomorrow. It was also Post 1's first game of the tournament.
Jamie Butler pitched a complete game with nine strikeouts for Waterbury. Butler tired a little at the end, and Hamden picked up two runs in the top of the seventh inning to pull within 5-3. Fittingly, Butler ended the game with a strikeout.
Waterbury broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning and pushed three runs across. Armando Torres led off with a walk, then stole second and third base. Tyriq Harris walked. Nate Zappone grounded to short, but Harris was called safe. Torres scored on the play to make it 1-0. Harris and Zappone managed to both score on an infield single by Peyton Stephens to up the lead to 3-0.
After Hamden scored a run on a RBI single by Mike Ferrett in the top of the sixth to pull within 3-1, Waterbury scored twice more in the last of the inning for a 5-1 advantage. Brendan Bessette and Armando Torres each drew a walk, then Harris brought both of them home with a two-run double in the gap.
A two-run double by Austin Defilippo made it 5-3 in the top of the seventh, but Butler slammed the door from there.
Waterbury Post 1 looks to move on with a win tomorrow. The first game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Bucks Hills Park, according to the Connecticut American Legion website. The second game, if necessary, would be played afterward.