May 27—EAST LYME — When Waterford played eight games in 10 days to begin May, instead of growing tired the Lancers grew stronger. A week later came an extra-inning loss, its first loss of the season, but the Lancers learned from it.
“I think it made me better,” Waterford junior pitcher Maddie Burrows said of the somewhat cumbersome string of games. “It gave me more reps against hitters and a little time at shortstop. We’re still together. We keep getting better and better. We’re able to build our relationships even more.”
Until Wednesday night … when the top-ranked Waterford High School softball team was all but perfect in an 8-1 victory over No. 2 Ledyard to win the Eastern Connecticut Conference South Division tournament championship, Waterford’s first tournament title since 2012 and first under head coach Andy Walker.
Until Wednesday night … when Burrows pitched a four-hitter and capped the scoring with a towering two-run homer over the center field fence in the sixth which was caught by her dad, Tim.
“They showed up,” Walker said. “They played the way I expected them to play and that’s with great energy. … It’s about challenging themselves on a day-to-day basis to get better. We’ve got to expect better for ourselves. It’s our mantra, ‘Get better every day.'”
“I feel like we start a game and have a good rhythm going,” Waterford leadoff hitter and center fielder Angela Colonis said. “We keep it going. … I think after losing (7-6 to Stonington in eight innings last week), we knew what that felt like. You need that motivation.”
Colonis started things off immediately in the bottom of the first for Waterford (19-1), singling and going to second on a wild pitch. Burrows followed with a double off the fence in right field to score Colonis, then came around to make it 2-0 on a Ledyard error.
Burrows reached on an error and scored on an RBI single by Anna Dziecinny in the third and got a two-run single by Kyleigh Pinell in the fourth to make it 5-0.
Ledyard, 15-3 with all three losses to Waterford, scored in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by Iyana Kirvan but Waterford responded with three in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Abby Maynard and the home run by Burrows.
Burrows, Colonis and Pinell each had two hits for Waterford, while Burrows struck out seven and walked three to earn the victory. Ledyard had four different players with hits but made an uncharacteristic four errors behind pitcher Sara Rivers.
“I wouldn’t call it nervous, but they were saying before the game that this is the same girl (Burrows) they’ve been facing since they were 9,” Ledyard coach Brittany Robinson said. “They were good butterflies, the kind you want to have.
“(Burrows) was definitely on. So on. We adjusted and we ended up putting the bat on the ball but it happens. It just wasn’t our day.”