Last year, the Waterford Babe Ruth 14-year-old all-star team . Simsbury won the first game, but Waterford, which was undefeated, came back and won the second game to take the state championship.
This year, it was much the same story line, with Waterford again facing Simsbury (although this time it was in Simsbury). The difference was the Babe Ruth 15-year-old all-star team - filled with many of the same kids as last year's 14-year-old team – defeated Simsbury in their first try, 7-4, to win the state championship.
“It feels wonderful,” Head Coach Kevin Irvine said. “Connecticut is a tough state to come out of. I’m so proud of these guys, the way they competed - you know just so happy for them.”
Adam Goss threw a complete game for the win and contributed with his bat, hitting two doubles. Nearly every other started contributed for Waterford as well, with the team scoring in each of the first four innings.
With the win, the group became just the third Waterford group ever to win back-to-back state championships. But unlike last year, when perhaps the team was too excited about the title, this time it is just a stepping stone to the New England tournament, Goss said.
“It feels great, it feels great,” he said. “But we are not happy yet.”
The game started off troubling, with Goss allowing the first three runners to reach base. But the 15-year-old held strong, getting out of the inning allowing just one run.
Then Waterford responded with three runs in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by a two-out, two-run single by Jesse Coates. That gave Waterford a two-run cushion to play with, which was a huge sigh of relief, Goss said.
“It doesn’t get better than that, pitching with a lead,” he said. “I know If I keep working hard, they are going to score runs for me. I trust them.”
Waterford’s relentless offense would continue, pushing across one run in the second inning and two runs in the third. Simsbury would score two runs in the top of the fourth inning on back-to-back wild pitches, but Waterford responded in the bottom of the frame with a run of its own.
Simsbury would push across one more run in the fifth, but that would be the end of the scoring. The game ended with Kyle Chung catching a fly in right field to give Waterford the 7-4 victory.
There was no one star of the game, with player after player contributing with the bat. Chung was 2 for 2 with a walk and two RBIs, Griffen Archambault was 2 for 3 with a run and two RBIs and Connor Lewis was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI.
“We are an extremely talented and deep team,” Irvine said. “It makes it fun to coach when everybody can handle the bat.”
Irvine was also complimentary of Goss and his gutty seven innings. Irvine said it wasn't Goss’s best game, but he showed once again why he is a two-time champion.
“Adam Goss is an absolute winner,” Irvine said. “So I had no doubts in my mind he was going to get the job done. He might have not had the most flawless game, but he did whatever he could to win the game.”
New England Tournament
Last year, the 14-year-old all-star team won two games but was ultimately eliminated in the New England tournament. This year, it was never about just wining the state title, Goss said.
“Last year, we were kind of happy after we won the state title,” he said. “Like we were just happy to be there. We said we weren’t, but I felt like we were. But this year that experience is going to help us tremendously.”
Irvine said this team is deep, plays good defense and can compete against anybody. Goss said the experience last year proved that, and the team is ready to make a long run in the tournament.
“Last year we went up there, we weren’t sure if we could compete with them,” Goss said. “Now we are absolutely positive.”
2012 Babe Ruth 15-Year-Old State Champions