Norwalk Senior Legion returns the favor against Darien-New Canaan

NORWALK -- Having swept its doubleheader against Fairfield on Saturday, the Norwalk Senior Legion baseball team sought to maintain momentum on Sunday.

And but for a momentary stutter step, Norwalk showed no signs of easing the throttle on its late-season rush, scoring in every inning but the first--including a four-run fourth in which the team cycled through its lineup--to beat Darien-New Canaan 11-3 at City Hall Field.

Norwalk head coach Chris Brown--whose team improved to 11-9 and moved within four wins of qualifying for tournament play--found the victory encouraging for several reasons, as defending state champion Norwalk enters the regular season's final two weeks.

"Everyone's starting to enjoy the game," Brown said. "We've been coming together lately. Not just our hitting and our pitching, but our confidence; it's all there now. "

Facing a trio of Darien-New Canaan pitchers, Norwalk tallied nine hits on the day, five for extra bases--including Mike Carter's double that scored two in the fourth inning, and Matt Ederle's run-scoring double in the fifth--and put 17 men on base.

Darien-New Canaan starter Carl Stowell allowed four runs in his three innings of work--enough to pick up the loss as his team dropped to 6-15. Reliever Tom Carruthers fared no better, giving up six runs on four hits and a balk through two frames before Tommy Forese took over in the sixth and surrendered Norwalk's final run.

Norwalk starting pitcher James Welch battled control problems early--and was not helped by third baseman Tristan Opdahl's error that led to one of Darien-New Canaan's two first inning runs--but developed his command from the third inning on to shut down opposing batters. Giving up three runs, two earned, on six hits and two walks over seven innings to record the win, the Norwalk right-hander said he looked at the victory as a matter of a score being settled.

"We faced these guys before and they beat us," Welch said. "I came in today looking for a little payback. I think we got it."

Trailing 2-0 after one inning, Norwalk got on the board in the second when leadoff batter Leon Fleming blasted a liner to center field that hopped the fence for a ground-rule double. Fleming scored two batters later on Opdahl's double to right.

Norwalk opened a 4-2 lead in the third on Spencer Jacoby's RBI single, followed by Fleming's sacrifice fly and an errant pickoff attempt that allowed Carter to race home from second base.

Darien-New Canaan answered in the fourth when Jack Travers' single scored Kevin Love, who had singled, closing the gap to 4-3.

But Norwalk sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning, doubling up on Darien-New Canaan, 8-4.

"We had to pitch some guys that aren't our main pitchers," Darien-New Canaan head coach John Miceli said. "But Norwalk's a good club. They don't let up."

Ederle's double and Mike Parlanti's sacrifice fly gave Norwalk a pair of runs in the fifth. Jacoby tripled to lead off the sixth, and capped the scoring when Fleming lifted his second sacrifice fly to deep right-center.

Ederle and Jacoby each were 3-for-4 on the day with an RBI and two runs scored.

Garrett D. Uribe is a freelance writer from Fairfield County

NORWALK 11, DARIEN-NEW CANAAN 3

DARIEN NEW-CANAAN 200 100 0--3 6 2

NORWALK 013 421 x--11 9 1

Records: Darien-New Canaan 6-15; Norwalk 11-9.

Batteries: N--James Welch (W) and Danny Diaz. D--Carl Stowell (L), Tom Carruthers (4), Tommy Forese (6) and Jack Travers.

Doubles: N--Mike Carter, Matt Ederle, Leon Fleming, Tristan Opdahl. D--Carl Stowell. Triples: N--Spencer Jacoby.