WATERVILLE — With a 3-0 record in pool play, Waterville has evolved from simply hosting the 11 and under New England Cal Ripken baseball tournament at Fran Purnell Wrigley Field to one of the contenders for the title.

“Everyone thought we were going to be 0-3, because we’re the host, and if we weren’t the host we wouldn’t be here. We surprised everyone by putting the bat on the ball and having great defense,” Brendan Roderick, one of Waterville’s key players, said.

On Monday afternoon, Waterville capped its undefeated run through its four-team division with a 16-14 win over Lanesborough, Massachusetts. On Monday morning, Waterville rallied to beat Washington Park, Rhode Island, 7-6. Waterville opened the tournament with an 11-1 win over Newtown, Connecticut on Saturday. At 3-0, Waterville earned the No. 1 seed in the American Division, and will take on the No. 4 team from the National Division, Barrington, New Hampshire, Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals.

Waterville head coach Larry Brown expected his team to play hard, but never expected to be 3-0 at this point in the tournament.

“I figured we’d be competitive. We’ve faced some good teams,” Brown said. “I think we’re surprising people. We’re playing great defense, getting timely pitching. At 11 years old, strikes and defense wins games. We’re manufacturing runs. We’re bunting when we need to, moving guys over and being aggressive. The kids deserve all the credit. They’re doing the work.”

Against Lanesborough, Waterville showed its mental toughness. After scoring two runs in the top of the first inning, Waterville surrendered seven runs in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the second, Waterville answered Lanesborough’s big inning by almost doubling it, scoring 13 runs to take a 15-7 lead. The big hit was an opposite field grand slam by Roderick, who drove a pitch over the right field wall. It was the first grand slam of his baseball career, Roderick said.

“It felt really good.,” Roderick said. “I hit it and it felt like it was deep. Once it hit its highest point, I’m like, ‘It’s out.'”

Waterville was confident it could come back after allowing seven runs in the bottom of the first, player Alex Spaulding said.

“We were just hoping. We just kept yelling and screaming. We were confident. We thought we were going to at least get a couple runs. We knew we could do it, we didn’t think we’d score that many runs,” Spaulding, who came on in relief and earned the win over Lanesborough, said.

Added Brown: “The best thing about (Monday) was, they came up and scored seven in the bottom of the first and we answered them. That’s what we did all day. In the first game, when (Washington Park) scored to take the lead, we scored and got it right back.”

With Waterville ahead 16-13, Spaulding gave up back-to-back doubles to open the bottom of the sixth, before bearing down. Spaulding got a pair of strikeouts and a grounder to second base to end the inning clinch the win.

“I just had to stay calm, get rid of the bad pitches, and focus on the next (hitter),” Spaulding said.

Now, the tournament becomes single elimination. So far, Brown said everyone on the team has contributed to the success.

“One through 12, I could name them all. Even our Minions, the little guys at the bottom of our lineup, they get on and manufacture runs,” Brown said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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