Williams tosses complete-game shutout as Darien eliminates Danbury in Class LL baseball

DANBURY — When the Darien baseball team saw its draw in the CIAC Class LL tournament, the players and coaches could not believe it.

Not only was the Blue Wave matched up with a FCIAC team for the third-straight season, they were matched up against the same FCIAC team for the third-straight season.

Danbury. The team which knocked Darien out in the opening rounds in 2017 and 18.

And for the third season in-a-row Darien handed the ball to ace Henry Williams.

Williams made sure his senior season did not end to the Hatters, tossing a complete game as No. 19 Darien beat No. 14 Danbury 4-0 in the CIAC opening round Wednesday afternoon.

“I wanted the ball a lot. They have knocked me specifically out of states two years in a row,” Williams said. “To get them today and in the FCIAC quarterfinals, as a pitcher, you can’t have the same approach. I was heavily curveball earlier this year and this time it I used my fastball more and was able to locate it. This feels great. I haven’t (advanced in states). I’m excited.”

Darien will face either No. 3 Southington or No. 30 New Britain in the second round. The Southington-New Britain game was suspended in the bottom of the 10th inning with the score tied at 2.
<h3><a href=”http://www.gametimect.com/2019-ciac-baseball-pairings/”><strong>CIAC baseball tournament pairings/scoreboard</strong></a></h3>
Williams did not allow a Danbury runner to reach third base in the game, striking out eight along the way while scattering six hits.

On the other side, Danbury’s Justin Solimine was step for step with Williams until running into trouble in the top of the fourth.

With two outs, Darien’s bottom three hitters loaded the bases on two walks and a single by No. 8 hitter Aaron Sears.

Leadoff hitter Mac McLean singled up the middle , driving in two runs and Williams also singled up the middle, plating another run.

The last run came on a wild pitch, allowing McLean to scamper home.

“Two outs and a 1-2 count and the next thing you know, it’s four runs. That’s why baseball is the greatest game and why baseball, for coaches, is god awful. Baseball doesn’t care,” Danbury coach Shaun Ratchford said. “This senior class played in nine state games. I have never had a group over four years do that. They won 52 games in their careers and they helped establish this. Baseball used to have five or six people watching and now it’s an event. That’s what I’m proudest of for them and their parents. They’ve made baseball an event at Danbury.”

Solimine pitched six innings, striking out 10 and giving up six hits.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Henry Williams, Darien. The Duke-bound senior was stellar on the mound, also picking up a RBI-single and a first-inning triple at the plate.

QUOTABLE

“Henry (Williams) has been a stud for three years for us. He’s had a chance the last two years in the state tournament opener against Danbury and they have gotten the job done against him,” Darien coach Mike Scott said. “He had a little more fire in his belly in the FCIAC tournament and today to come out and put a good outing up against them. He was awesome today. He wasn’t locating his slider early but he found a way to get outs and it started to come back to him late. He was actually throwing much better late than he was in the beginning.”

Sericson@stamfordadvocate.com; @EricsonSports

DARIEN 4 DANBURY 0

DARIEN 000 400 0—4 6 0

DANBURY 000 000 0—0 6 0

Batteries: Dar—Henry Williams (W) and Ben Olson; Dan—Justin Solimine (L), Matt Sabene (7) and Jake Matson