MYSTIC — Mystic Little League baseball 10-11 All-Stars coach Jason Pollard describes his team’s strengths as pitching and defense.
“And when we get our bats going, forget about it,” he adds for good measure. “It’s infectious.”
Such was the case Tuesday at Rossie Field.
Eight Mystic players had at least one hit and the team racked up 13 overall to beat Waterford, 8-6, in the deciding game of the best-of-three District 10 tournament finals.
Mystic advanced to the Section 3 tournament, which starts Friday at the Pawcatuck Little League complex. Its first game is Saturday against an opponent to be determined.
“One kid hits, the other kid wants to hit, and we just start carrying each other,” said Pollard, who was doused with the contents of a water cooler after the championship ceremony. “Some teams have two high-end players out of 15. Every kid that wears that [Mystic] uniform contributes.”
Dylan Joyce and Hayden Chappel each went 3 for 4 to lead the Mystic hit parade. Joyce doubled twice and finished with four RBIs; Chappel doubled once and scored three runs.
Starting pitcher Liam Joyce, Dylan’s twin brother, added two hits. Griffin Pollard, Jack deLabry and Finn Eck each had an RBI single.
Mystic got off to a strong start, leading 2-1 after one inning and 5-1 after an inning and a half. But Waterford closed to 5-3 in the bottom of the second.
Mystic got some breathing room in the third, thanks to Dylan Joyce. With two on and two outs, he hit a deep drive past the center fielder to clear the bases and make it 7-3.
“That was huge,” Pollard said. “It really set the tone.
“That’s the thing about this team. It’s always someone else; it’s never the same kid [who makes the big play]. It’s a different kid every day and that makes a big difference.”
Meanwhile, Liam Joyce was doing his part from the mound to keep the Waterford bats quiet. In both the first and second innings, he stranded runners on second and third, ending each frame with a strikeout.
Joyce finished with eight K’s. He allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings.
“Phenomenal,” Pollard said. “[The Joyces] have been doing it all year, both of them.”
Eck’s bloop RBI single in the fourth put Mystic ahead 8-3.
Waterford scored once in the fifth and twice in the sixth, but Mystic used some fine defense in the final inning to end things.
Chappel, at shortstop, made two putouts in the sixth, the first and last of the inning. The first was particularly impressive — he executed a backhanded stab of hard-hit groundball before making an on-target throw to retire the leadoff batter.
At third base, Dylan Joyce fielded a groundball and made a nice long throw to Griffin Pollard, at first base, for the second out of the sixth.
“This team is resilient,” said Pollard, the coach whose squad won twice after losing the opening game of the finals. “They fight till the end; they never give up.”