Losing a no-hitter in the seventh inning didn't ruin Mike Bridgette's Saturday. The Hughesville 14-and-under pitcher had more important things to worry about against Waldorf American.
A District 7 title was on the line. And for the past three years, Bridgette and many of his teammates had lost in the district finals.
This time, there was a celebration. Hughesville won, 8-0, and advanced to the state tournament, which began Tuesday night. (Results were unavailable at press time.)
"It was a long time coming for them," Manager Tim Farrell said. "They just missed it. The last times, they were very talented, but didn't play as a team. This time, they played as a team."
Hughesville scored two in the second on a fielder's choice by T.C. Renner and a sacrifice fly by Josh Kruckow. In one of the inning's key plays, George Beuchert struck out but hustled to first base and was safe when Waldorf's catcher was unable to hold onto the pitch.
Hughesville's Mickey Ely, Daryl Thompson and Clint Jenkins each added an RBI. Another run was scored on a double steal and an error led to two more.
Meanwhile, Bridgette did not give up a hit through six innings. But in the seventh, Waldorf's No. 5 hitter touched him for a one-out single, and Bridgette then walked the next batter. So Farrell went to the mound, wanting to settle him down.
"When I went to talk to him," Farrell said, "he was like, `Please don't take me out. I want to finish.' I said, `You're fine. I just want to make sure you're still okay.' He was."
Players spoke to him each inning, trying to keep him going and to keep him relaxed.
"The main thing about Mike was his mechanics, and we fixed that," pitching coach Brent "Goldie" Goldsmith said. "He pitches better when he's loose, when he's having a good time. When he gets by himself, he thinks too much. When he doesn't think, he does good. So that's why I try to keep [him] loose."
Bridgette -- who struck out 11 and walked two while finishing with a one-hitter -- said he wasn't worried about the no-hitter. He just wanted to win and get this trophy.
"It's great to have the trophy that says champions," he said. "I kind of enjoyed it. I never have been in a game this big. You probably could put anyone else on our team in there pitching, and they would have done the same thing."
Waldorf American 000 000 0 -- 0 1 3
Hughesville 022 301 x -- 8 11 1
Thompson and Petterson; Bridgette and Jenkins.