The Darien Blue Wave baseball team won its fourth straight game when it defeated the Greenwich Cardinals 9-2 on Monday morning at Darien High School.
“We are definitely getting better, we’re improving, but we haven’t peaked,” said Darien head coach Mike Scott. “It was a good team win today.”
The Cardinals (2-2 overall, 0-1 FCIAC) got on the board in the first inning. Daniel Perez walked with one out and three batters later, with runners at the corners and two outs, Kyle Woodring singled to right field against Darien starting pitcher Henry Williams to bring in Perez.
Darien (4-1, 1-0) came right back in the bottom of the inning. Justin Jordan led off with a double and Mac McLean reached on an error to put runners at the corners. A groundout to second by Williams brought home Jordan to knot the game at one. The next batter, Max Gasvoda, singled to right field to bring home McLean and give the Blue Wave a 2-1 lead.
“We gave it (the lead) back right away with an error. They are going to capitalize on your mistakes,” said Greenwich head coach Mike Mora. “We kicked the ball around a little bit, we gave up some free passes and they got hits.”
The Blue Wave added another run in the second inning. Arthur Xanthos drew a leadoff walk. Fin Batson reached on a bunt single and the throw to first was in the dirt, allowing Xanthos to go to third. Xanthos then came in to score as Jordan hit into a fielder’s choice to put Darien ahead 3-1.
“We didn’t play well and against a good team we have to play our A game. We didn’t bring it today,” said Mora. “It all starts with defense so when you do that against a good team, you’re going to lose 9-2.”
In the third, Gasvoda doubled and Devyn Kipphut was hit by a pitch. That would be the end of the day for Greenwich starter Ian Colalucci (2 IP, 5R, 3ER, 2BB, 1HB).
“It’s early. We’re 0-1 (in the league). We know what we have to work on and what we have to execute,” said Mora. “We are a young team but that’s not an excuse. They know what’s expected of them.”
A double steal with put runners at second and third. Both runners would come in to score on wild pitches to extend the Darien lead to 5-1.
The Blue Wave broke the game wide open in the fourth. Williams doubled leading off the inning. He was erased on a fielder’s choice by Gasvoda. After a walk to Kipphut, Harry Rayhill drove one over the wall in left-center field for a three-run home run. Darien now led 8-1.
“It was a fastball down the middle and I guess I just hit it,” said Rayhill. “You really have to give credit to my teammates that were on base.”
On the mound, after the first inning, Williams was able to shut Greenwich down offensively. The Cardinals were able to get men on base but couldn’t bring them in. They left seven men on base through the first five innings.
“It was a gutsy effort by Henry on the mound. He didn’t have his best stuff or his best command but he found a way to get the job done,” said Scott.
Williams allowed one run on three hits while walking three and striking out five over five innings of work.
“He (Williams) pitched a great game,” said Rayhill. “We pride ourselves on pitching and defense. The pitching carries us.”
In the fifth, Baston led off with a single to right. Three batters later, Baston came in to score on an error to extend the Darien lead to 9-2.
With two on and two out in the sixth, Greenwich tried to claw back. Henry Jonokuchi singled to bring home Sean Pratley to cut the deficit to 9-2. That’s as close as the Cardinals would get as McLean would shut the door on the inning with a strikeout and set the side down in order in the seventh.
“The defense overall was pretty good and we took advantage of some of their miscues. That’s a lot of what high school baseball comes down to. You take advantage of mistakes,” said Scott. “Overall it was a good team effort today and I’m just happy we came out with the win.”
NOTE: In Saturday’s 2-0 win over Guilford, Justin Van de Graaf threw a two-hit complete game shutout. Both hits were singles and he also walked one and struck out eight.
Harry Rayhill accounted for the Wave’s other run, as he belted a solo home run to left with one out in the fourth inning.