District I champion Darien Little League team named Sports Persons of the Year
The Darien All-Star baseball team, which captured its first District I Little League championship in 21 years this summer, is among the honorees as the Fairfield County Sports Commission announced its 2019 Sports Persons of the Year last week.
The commission selects 16 honorees — one from each of the communities it serves — who will be recognized at the 15th annual Sports Night awards dinner at the Stamford Marriott at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21.
Winners were chosen by a committee headed by local town representatives, and were deemed to have had the most positive impact in their sports community from August 2018 to August 2019.
Coached by Wesley Yusko, Darien swept its way through the District I tournament, beating Wilton 3-1, and Stamford North twice, first 6-4 and then 12-2 in five innings to secure the crown.
Darien put the title in the books with an eight-run bottom of the fifth inning in the final, turning a close 4-2 game into a 10-run rout which ended by the mercy rule. The local All-Stars had nine hits in the game.
“To bring home the District 1 title after 21 years, that’s a big deal,” Darien rightfielder/pitcher Tom Karczewski said after that game. “Our improvement every day through hard work paid off. Since we had beaten Stamford North (6-4) we had confidence coming in that we could do it again.”
The Darien roster featured Karczweski, Aidan Elders, Will Barber, Jack Nee, Taylor Campbell, Luke Mahoney, Chase Dolan, Teddy Smosky, Matt Walton, Leo Zawacki, Merritt Hole, and Tyler Easterbrook. They were coached by Yusko, Mark Campbell and Chris Zawacki.
In the decisive game, Elders snapped a 2-2 tie with a two-run double in the bottom of the third inning.
In the eight-run fifth, the local All-Stars rapped out five hits and drew four walks. The hits included RBI doubles by Hole and Barber and a two-run single by Zawacki to end the game.
“The kids were ready to go,” Yusko said. “And once again, they found a way.”
With the title, Darien advanced to the Section I tournament, where it eventually finished as the runner-up behind the Max Sinoway team from North Haven.
Sinoway topped Darien 9-3, but Darien rebounded to beat Fairfield American 7-4 in the next game to set up a rematch with Sinoway. In the final, Sinoway took an early lead and rolled to a 7-1 win.
The Darien All-Stars will be honored alongside the 15 other honorees, who include the New Canaan boys basketball team, which captured its first state championship in 57 years last winter; the Greenwich football team, which was undefeated and won the Class LL title; Trinity Catholic’s Class S state champion girls basketball team; Norwalk’s Justin Forde of Brien McMahon, the Gatorade CT Track Athlete of Year; and the Staples High boys and girls tennis teams, both of which won state championships.
With the 16 new honorees, the FCSC has honored a total of 231 local sports persons.
The commission is an all-volunteer organization except for the executive director position, and is the one-stop resource for the sports communities in the county. The focus of the commission is creating and supporting programs for fitness and nutrition awareness education.
For more information concerning tickets and sponsorship opportunities for Sports Night, visit www.fairfieldcountysports.com or call Tom Chiappetta at 203-984-4806.