TRUMBULL — The Darien players joke that their coach, Mike Scott, refers to the team’s style as boring baseball.
Is it more a matter of basics, and the Blue Wave are hoping they can lull their way to a championship.
It is way too early to look that far ahead, but Darien’s quick start, and the manner in which it has been achieved, is cause for optimism. Pitching has been the dominant feature, and today the Blue Wave rode another strong effort from Justin Jordan to their fifth straight win, 4-0 at Trumbull.
“Coming into the season we thought that was going to be one of our strengths, the guys on the mound, because they have experience and they’ve been in big games before so we are counting on them to keep us in games,” Scott said. “The defense should do their job and the offense gets the chance to win it for us. So far so good with the way the pitchers have been throwing. Justin was tremendous today.”
Jordan allowed just four hits over six innings, striking out nine and walking one. Jackson Vaught pitched the final inning and retired the side in order.
“He was staying low in the zone,” Scott said of Jordan. “That’s really what it is. When he’s up in the zone he gets hittable, but he was keeping the ball down, he was mixing pitches a little bit, keeping them guessing. That low outside pitch that he is throwing is tough, coming from a lefty and that ball tailing away from a righty. It’s a tough pitch to hit. If he’s living there we are in good shape.”
Since a season-opening loss, the Blue Wave have allowed just five runs. Already nearly one-third of the way through the season, it is becoming apparent that the preseason focus was too much on who wasn’t back and not enough on a staff that is led by Jordan and Henry Williams, but also has depth.
“We go deeper than those two,” Scott said. “They are the two headliners. It’s the name of the game, pitching and defense. You’ve got to have both to have a chance. All the credit goes to our guys on the hill, keeping us in the game. We’re getting better offensively. We’re finding some ways to get some timely hits. Hopefully that’s the sign of good things to come.”
Darien managed just five hits, but made the most of them. It capitalized on a pair of Trumbull errors in the fourth that led to a pair of runs on an infield single by Williams and Sean O’Malley’s walk with the bases loaded that made the score 3-0.
“It’s a bonus when we get our hits together and score some runs because we can really shut any team out with our pitching,” Jordan said.
O’Malley’s single to left in the third accounted for the Blue Wave’s first run. That was the benefit of a leadoff walk. Another one in the fifth set the stage for the final run, on Arthur Xanthos’ base hit.
Jordan handled the rest. He was in control the first five innings and left runners in scoring position in the sixth after the Eagles’ Chris Briganti doubled, the only extra-base hit of the day.
“He was staying low in the zone,” Scott said. “That’s really what it is. When he’s up in the zone he gets hittable, but he was keeping the ball down, he was mixing pitches a little bit, keeping them guessing. That low outside pitch is tough, coming from a lefty and that ball tailing away from a righty. It’s a tough pitch to hit. If he’s living there we are in good shape.”
Trumbull (1-2) has now gone without a run for 12 innings. It got an RBI single off Ridgefield ace Alex Price on Monday after he entered in relief, but Price then shut down the Eagles for five innings in a game that was called for darkness after 11 innings with the score tied at 2-2.
In his first varsity start, Trumbull’s Justin Nyarady walked five today but pitched well before coming out with two outs in the fourth. Only one of the three runs he allowed was earned.
“Justin is one of the top pitchers in the league and he pitched a great game today,” Trumbull coach Phil Pacelli said. “He really shut us down. Our pitching has been very good. A couple walks hurt us, O’Malley hit that one down the line, that was a solid shot but other than that they hit a couple ground balls that didn’t leave the infield and we kind of got a little lucky there. We’ve seen a lot of top pitchers so far. It’s still cold out here, it’s still early, we’re not panicking. There’s a lot of baseball left.”
This was Darien’s first road game and thus its first on grass.
“Just throwing strikes every time and let my defense go to work,” Jordan said. “I’ve really got to thank them.”