With an experienced squad that lost only three starting position players to graduation, the Darien baseball team believes it in a good position to join the FCIAC elite in 2012.

Darien's 10-10 regular season record was enough to qualify for the Class L state tournament a year ago, but the Blue Wave got bounced from the tournament by Platt in the qualifying round. Although it was a step up from the previous season's 8-12 mark, Darien won't be satisfied by simply making it to the state tournament this year.

"We have the core of our lineup returning and a couple pitchers that can compete," Darien fourth year coach Mike Scott said. "We're not going to be satisfied with 10-10 and qualifying for states; it's time to make a push for something bigger. That's the challenge here."

Among the key losses from the 2011 team were pitcher Andrew Hurn, shortstop Dan Pidgeon and outfielders Justin Pryor and Ian Sullivan. With their departures, however, several starting spots are still up for grabs.

Much of the team's core remains intact for 2012, and the Blue Wave will be led by senior captains Sam Gillespie, Mike Stovall, Thomas Carruthers and Bryan Previte.

"So far, we're looking good. We have great hitters up and down the lineup. We have some good pitchers," shortstop Carruthers said. "We need to get some more reps in the infield and outfield, but we're looking solid so far. There's nothing we'd really want to change."

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Darien's biggest fallback in 2011 may have been inconsistent hitting, something which the Blue Wave sound intent on correcting this year.

"So far, we're seeing a lot of good team chemistry. Everybody has each other's backs, and everybody looks forward to playing every day together, which is a really good thing to have on the team," catcher Gillespie said. "We want to get in that top eight in the FCIAC to make the tournament because we haven't done that in a few years. We have a lot of hitters who have seen varsity pitching for two or three years, which is a huge strength."

"We have a really good senior class and we're all on the same page," Stovall said. "I think we have a good chance to go to FCIACs and states and do some damage there. We have some great hitters."

Baseball is perhaps one of the most unpredictable sports in the FCIAC, and Darien believes it can climb the ranks of a league that sees a lot of annual overturn.

"We have a strong senior class, a lot of chemistry and our hitting is good. We're pretty solid this year," center fielder Previte said. "We just have to keep getting reps, keep working every day and keep hustling. Obviously, we're looking forward to playing New Canaan, but also Staples and Ridgefield."