2015 Connecticut State Little League® Tournament Results
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Connecticut State Tournament
Major Baseball Division

Toward the past

Toward the present

Connecticut State Tournament
Host - Newington (District 7)
At Volunteer Field

Volunteer Field is located at 145 New Britain Avenue in Newington.

Participating Teams
Division 1 Champions Stamford North (District 1)
Division 2 Champions Southington Southern (District 5)
Division 3 Champions Waterford (District 10)
Division 4 Champions Norwich (District 11)

Click here to view 2015 district tournament results for Connecticut.

Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Stamford North 6, Southington Southern 2
Waterford 11, Norwich 5

Elimination Bracket Semifinal (four teams remain):
Southington Southern 4, Norwich 3 (7 innings; elim.)

Winner's Bracket Final:
Waterford 15, Stamford North 4 (7 innings)

Elimination Bracket Final (three teams remain):
Southington Southern 12, Stamford North 3 (elim.)

Championship Series:
Southington Southern 4, Waterford 2
Waterford 9, Southington Southern 6 (TITLE)


Final game of the state tournament, with neither team having a loss to give. Tie game. Late innings. Two outs. Bases loaded. And a full count on the batter.

In the world of advanced baseball statistics, you would be hard-pressed to find a higher-leverage situation.

And Waterford Little League batter Michael Marelli rose to the occasion.

Marelli drove a pinch hit grand slam home run over the center field fence, breaking the logjam and propelling Waterford to a 9-6 victory over Southington Southern Little League in the Connecticut state championship game at Volunteer Field in Newington.

With the win, Waterford captured its first state championship in the major baseball division since 1975, and advanced to the New England Region tournament in Bristol, Connecticut.

"Tie score, anything can happen," said Waterford manager Tim Burrows of Marelli's decisive blast. "And it took the wind out of their sails. We gained the momentum, and they never got it back."

Just moments before Marelli's home run, that momentum was firmly on Southington's side. The District 5 champions trailed 5-0 early on, but scored twice in the second inning and three times in the third to tie the game, and quickly registered two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Southington seemed poised to push the pedal down on offense and redouble their efforts in the bottom of the inning.

But Marelli's blow changed that in a flash. Southington pulled back one run in the bottom of the inning on Jake Napoli's double, but went quietly in order in the fifth against Waterford starter Connor Podeszwa, and again in the sixth against reliever Ryan O'Connell.

"(Connor) pitched a great game; he kept them off-balance," said Burrows of his starting pitcher, who struck out nine and scattered six hits. "That's a good hitting team. Those guys can swing the bats. They were definitely geared up for the fastball, and Connor kept them off-balance with a curve and spotted his fastball."

Waterford had raced to an early 5-0 lead in the game's early innings. The District 10 champions opened the scoring with a pair of unearned runs in the first inning. Luke Sokolski sparked the rally with a two-out double, then O'Connell reached safely on a dropped third strike. Sokolski scored on a wild pitch, then O'Connell scored when Robert Zawecki reached on an error.

Waterford added three more in the second. Marelli, in the game as a special pinch runner, scored on a wild pitch, then Sokolski's sacrifice fly to deep center field scored Matt Sanford. Trey Brennan capped the rally with a two-out single to right field that drove in a third run.

Southington responded in the bottom of the frame with two runs of its own. Jared Kelly opened the inning with a single, and Mikey Guranda followed with a double to right center field. Drew Belcourt pushed a single past third base that scored one run, then Belcourt scored on Dan DiCorpo's fielder's choice.

Southington tied the game in the third. Napoli walked and Jake Neuman singled, then Kelly drilled a long home run well beyond the right center field fence.

"They came up a few runs short today," said Southington Southern coach Chris Matusik. "But they battled the whole time."

Southington was operating with a skeleton pitching staff in the tournament's final game. The District 5 winners had dropped its opener, 6-2 to Stamford North Little League, then won a trio of win-or-go-home games to force the tournament to a final game. Southington had four pitchers ineligible for the title game.

Waterford, meanwhile, had opened the tournament with a pair of wins. Waterford opened with an 11-5 win over Norwich Little League, then used an eleven-run seventh inning to defeat Stamford North, 15-4, in the winner's bracket final.

Waterford scored multiple runs in four of its five offensive innings against Norwich. Jared Burrows opened the scoring with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning -- his fifth game-opening homer of the international tournament -- and collected three hits. O'Connell contributed a two-run homer in the third that extended Waterford's lead to 4-1, and a three-run double in the fifth that stretched the advantage to 11-2.

Brian Miskiewicz paced Norwich's offense with a pair of home runs and four runs batted in.

"We played a good team tonight," said Norwich manager Chris Baillargean after the game. "We didn't play our best, but we're not going to take anything away from Waterford. They hit the ball; we didn't."

Waterford followed this win with an extra inning victory over Stamford North that was far tense than the 15-4 final margin would suggest. Each team managed just one run through five innings, with Anthony Tonucci's home run giving Waterford the edge in the third, and Stamford North countering with an unearned run in the fourth.

Both teams capitalized on miscues to trade three-run salvos in the sixth, forcing the game to extra innings before Waterford took command in the seventh. Ryan Salvator gave Waterford the lead for good with a two-run single, then Sokolski drove a long three-run home run to left field that extended the lead to 9-4. Waterford piled on six more runs before closing out the win in the bottom of the frame.

Burrow threw 5-2/3 innings and allowed just one earned run for Waterford, while Stamford North's Jay Lockwood struck out ten before exiting as he reached his pitch count limit.

The decisive rally lifted Waterford into the state championship game for the first time since 2001, and dropped Stamford North into a rematch with Southington Southern. While Stamford North had handcuffed Southington's offense in a 6-2 victory in the tournament's opening game, this time Southington slammed four home runs, and moved into a rematch with Waterford following a 12-3 victory.

All of Southington's home runs came in an eight-batter span that turned a 1-0 lead into a 10-3 advantage. DiCorpo started the avalanche, launching a grand slam to dead center field in the third inning that gave Southington South a 5-0 advantage. Stamford North narrowed the gap on Ben Nash's three-run homer in the bottom of the inning, but Southington responded with solo shots from Napoli and Neuman and then a three-run homer from Belcourt in the third.

The offense made life easy for Napoli, who allowed just the Nash home run while striking out six over 4-plus innings before reaching his pitch count limit.

"Today, we were patient at the plate," said Southington Southern manager Chris Laporte, contrasting the performance with his team's approach in the earlier loss to Stamford North. "We got ahead in counts. We didn't chase bad pitches. This is Southington South baseball."

"We hit the ball like we wanted to," added the Southington manager. "In the first couple of games (at the state tournament), we didn't really do that, but today, we did. I changed up the lineup a little bit and it seemed to have worked."

The win moved Southington Southern into its first matchup with Waterford, and Southington extended the tournament to a final game with a 4-2 victory.

Southington scored all of its runs on home runs. Napoli drove an 0-2 pitch over the fence in the bottom of the first to give Southington a 1-0 advantage, and, after Waterford had rallied to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, Belcourt launched a three-run shot in the bottom of the fourth to regain the lead.

"Any one of the kids in the lineup can put it over the fence at any given time," said Laporte after the game. "They've all done it. If we're down by one or two and there are guys on, one swing of the bat and we're right back in it. They don't get nervous."

The two blows were enough offense for Gurzenda, as the left-hander surrendered just two hits and one earned run over 4-2/3 innings of work Relying heavily on a circle changeup backed by a fastball, Gurzenda permitted just one ball hit out of the infield, and retired ten of the first eleven hitters he faced.

"That's why baseball is great," said Tim Burrows as he tipped his cap to the Southington pitcher. "You've got a guy who can come out and throw really hard like the kid from Stamford North that we faced (Lockwood). Then you have a kid (like Gurzenda) who just throws curveball after curveball, then mixed in a fastball. He was a good pitcher. We haven't seen a pitcher like that."

"Mickey pitched a gem," added Laporte. "His breaking ball was working. His fastball was that much faster... He had one inning where he got in trouble a little bit, but got out of it and he threw a great game."

Gurzenda's effort and the timely home runs extended the tournament an additional game, and Waterford leveraged Marelli's pinch hit grand slam to reinforce that its power runs deep through its roster as well.

"In order to win a (state) tournament, you need to have everybody contribute," said Tim Burrows. "And every single kid on this team has had a hit at some point where it mattered, or made a play or pitch, whatever it is."

Waterford moved into the New England Region tournament after winning the state championship. The Connecticut representative opened region tournament play with a 3-2 victory over eventual region champion Cranston Western Little League (Rhode Island), but fell into the elimination bracket following a loss to Bedford (New Hampshire) Little League.

Waterford stayed alive with a 15-5, four inning victory over Biddeford (Maine) Little League, but was eliminated after dropping a rematch with Cranston Western, 3-2 in seven innings. Waterford finished the tournament in fourth place.

Follow Waterford at the New England Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.


  Opening Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Southington Southern 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 5 2
Stamford North 0 4 0 0 2 x 6 6 1
  Opening Round
Norwich 0 0 1 0 1 3 5 - -
Waterford 2 0 2 3 4 x 11 14 -
  Elimination Bracket Semifinal
Norwich 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 - -
Southington Southern 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 4 - -
  Winner's Bracket Final
Waterford 0 0 1 0 0 3 11 15 - -
Stamford North 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 4 - -
  Elimination Bracket Final
Southington Southern 0 0 5 7 0 0 12 9 0
Stamford North 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 7 3
  Championship Series Game 1
Waterford 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 3 -
Southington Southern 1 0 0 3 0 x 4 - -
  Championship Series Game 2
Waterford 2 3 0 4 0 0 9 - -
Southington Southern 0 2 3 1 0 0 6 6 -

2015 Connecticut Divisional Tournament Results:

District Champions
in Division 1
District Champions
in Division 2
D1 - Stamford North
D2 - Fairfield American
D4 - Hamden Fathers

Division 1 Tournament
Host - Connecticut District 1
Championship Game Host - Stamford North (District 1)
At Drotar Field; Springdale Complex

The Division 1 tournament is using a round-robin format.

Tournament Schedule/Results:
1 - Fairfield American 7, Hamden Fathers 4
2 - Fairfield American 1, Stamford North 0
3 - Hamden Fathers 9, Stamford North 8



Fairfield American 2 0
Hamden Fathers 1 1
Stamford North 0 2

All tournament participants advance to the division finals. Round robin results are used to seed teams into specific bracket positions for the division finals. Standard Little League Baseball tiebreakers apply.

Semifinal Round (Saturday, July 25 - at Springdale)

Stamford North 14, Hamden Fathers 4 (4 innings)

Division 1 Championship Game (Sunday, July 26 - at Springdale)

Stamford North 5, Fairfield American 4 (7 innings; TITLE)

D3 - George J. Hummel (Seymour)
D5 - Southington Southern
D6 - Avon

Division 2 Tournament
Host - Peter J. Foley (Naugatuck) (District 3)

The Division 2 tournament is using a round-robin format.

Tournament Schedule/Results:
1 - Southington Southern 9, Avon 3
2 - Southington Southern 4, George J. Hummel 3
3 - Avon 11, George J. Hummel 6



Southington Southern 2 0
Avon 1 1
George J. Hummel 0 2

All tournament participants advance to the division finals. Round robin results are used to seed teams into specific bracket positions for the division finals. Standard Little League Baseball tiebreakers apply.

Semifinal Round (Saturday, July 25)

Avon 5, George J. Hummel 1

Division 2 Championship Game (Sunday, July 26)

Southington Southern 15, Avon 6 (TITLE)

District Champions
in Division 3
District Champions
in Division 4
D7 - Newington
D9 - Madison
D10 - Waterford

Division 3 Tournament
Host - West Hartford (District 7)

The Division 3 tournament is using a round-robin format.

Tournament Schedule/Results:
1 - Waterford 12, Madison 11
2 - Newington 5, Madison 1
3 - Newington 12, Waterford 2 (4 innings)



Newington 2 0
Waterford 1 1
Madison 0 2

All tournament participants advance to the division finals. Round robin results are used to seed teams into specific bracket positions for the division finals. Standard Little League Baseball tiebreakers apply.

Semifinal Round (Saturday, July 25)

Waterford 19, Madison 1

Division 3 Championship Game (Sunday, July 26)

Waterford 14, Newington 2 (TITLE)

D8 - Ellington
D11 - Norwich
D12 - Mansfield

Division 4 Tournament
Host - Windsor (District 8)

The Division 4 tournament is using a round-robin format.

Tournament Schedule/Results:
1 - Norwich 9, Mansfield 2
2 - Ellington 14, Norwich 0
3 - Ellington 10, Mansfield 0



Ellington 2 0
Norwich 1 1
Mansfield 0 2

All tournament participants advance to the division finals. Round robin results are used to seed teams into specific bracket positions for the division finals. Standard Little League Baseball tiebreakers apply.

Semifinal Round (Saturday, July 25)

Norwich 10, Mansfield 0

Division 4 Championship Game (Sunday, July 26)

Norwich 11, Ellington 10 (8 innings; TITLE)

Toward the past

Toward the present

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Last revision: 06/05/2016