By Hayley Tafuro
STRATFORD — The Darien Blue Wave bowed out of the Class LL softball state tournament on Wednesday, losing 4-0 after only getting two hits against the Cheshire Rams in the semifinal round.
“Tough to win a game with two hits,” Darien coach Nick DeMaio said. “That pitcher, she did a great job.”
That pitcher, Chesire’s MacKenzie Juodaitis, quickly asserted her strength against Darien’s first three batters, racking up three of her 10 for the game.
Darien senior pitcher Erika Osherow and the Blue Wave defense quickly retaliated. Senior second baseman Kelly Vodola made two solid plays and a strikeout from Osherow ended the first inning.
The Rams had their first chance to score in the bottom of the second, but they left a runner on third base. It wasn’t until the bottom of the third that Cheshire scored off of a double, putting the first run on the board.
It looked as though Darien was ready to answer in the top of the fourth after Vodola hit a monstrous triple deep into centerfield. However, it couldn’t capitalize after shortstop Cassidy Schiff and senior catcher Rebecca DeMaio were retired.
“You could see that we were having trouble laying off that high pitch; we didn’t have to go after that high pitch so that’s something that was frustrating,” Nick DeMaio said.
Cheshire only increased the lead from that point. After a single, the Rams’ Abigal Abramson homered just over the fence, bringing in two more runs. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, the Rams scored their fourth run off of a base hit.
The Blue Wave could not string enough hits together to get anything going, despite Osherow’s three strikeouts in the sixth inning to give them one last chance in the top of the seventh.
However, Darien’s opportunity at putting something on the board fell short after three consecutive outs, ending on a bobbling catch made by Juodaitis at the mound, sealing the game.
Darien ended the season at 21-4 and with trips to the semifinals of both postseason tournaments. It had an elite group of seniors who helped along the way to accomplish each feat.
“This was an outstanding group of seniors, and when you have an outstanding group of seniors like this you want to go as far as you can go,” DeMaio said. “So we’re one game short of where we wanted to be and two wins short of where we wanted to be, but this was a really good team. I felt that we belonged here, and we got here, but our journey here ended one game too soon.”