Darien run-rules McMahon, but seeks crisper play
Darien High School's softball team continues to pile up the wins. After overcoming a little bit of sloppy play in a walk-off win over St. Joseph of Trumbull on Monday, the Blue Wave again worked around a sub-par performance in what turned into an easy 14-2 win over visiting Brien McMahon on Wednesday.
The Blue Wave earned a run-rule win (game called after the team trailing by 12 or more runs has its fifth at bat) for the sixth time this season. Darien improved to 14-1 overall, and the Senators fell to 4-11. Despite the outcome, Darien Coach Nick DeMaio had his players hard at work in the batting cage for a postgame practice session.
"They need to get the way they played out of their system," DeMaio said.
The game ended up being a blowout but a pair of Darien errors, some other fielding gaffes, and lack of perfection the base paths led DeMaio to emphasize the importance of getting better.
"We kind of came out flat. Our warmup was not our best -- that showed, obviously, in the game," said Darien's Nicole Buch, a player who did a good job on the bases, coming up with three steals. Buch had four singles and scored three runs, and DeMaio is always impressed by her instincts on the bases, but wants everyone to jump on board in all facets of the game.
"We were basically playing the game at half speed," DeMaio said. "They were lethargic, they weren't crisp -- they weren't sharp. I'm always pleased to win but I'm not pleased with the performance of the team."
Darien took a first-inning 3-0 lead and eventually went up 6-0 before the Senators struck for two runs, aided a non-error mistake. The Blue Wave, instead of going for the sure out on a grounder, tried for a force at second base but came up empty, helping open the door for McMahon to score.
"We let them hang around and that can come back to bite you," DeMaio said.
The Blue Wave compiled 13 hits and cashed in on five McMahon errors. DeMaio told his players they won the game on their talent -- not their work ethic in this game.
Courtney Bell and Kelly Fahey each had two hits and three runs scored, and Emily Moscatello and Olivia Gozdz both had two hits. Moscatello and Fahey both drove in three runs, and Buch drove in a pair.
Pitcher Jessica DeMaio started the game and went four strong innings for the win. Fellow junior Kelly Nicoletti came on and pitched a solid inning to close out the win.
Against St. Joseph, the Blue Wave might have avoided the dramatic finish, but made things tough on themselves thanks to some errors. But Darien got one of its run with the benefit of a St. Joseph error, and the winner on three seventh-inning walks, the last by freshman Julia Domiziano to force in the winning run. Gozdz (who was 4-for-4 in the game) led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to set the stage for the win. The result was something the Wave team members were happy with but the way in which they earned the win and the fact it was against a tough FCIAC opponent (St. Joseph came into the game with a 10-4 overall mark) left the team members with mixed emotions.
"It was a really good win. It was a sloppy game too, but a win's a win," Buch said.
"I didn't think we played sharply on Monday. We didn't play our `A' game and we still managed to beat them. We gave them their runs and they gave us our runs," Nick DeMaio said. "That flatness carried over to today."
DeMaio left the field hoping his team would be on its game in the next two contests against a pair of tough FCIAC foes -- Thursday's scheduled clash with Danbury (result not available at press time) and Monday's game with Westhill of Stamford.