DARIEN — For much of Monday afternoon’s game at Darien, the Wilton parent section brooded about what could be accurately labeled the excitable behavior in the dugout by the the Blue Wave players anytime something positive happened.
Suffice it to say, during Darien’s surprisingly easy 12-1 victory there was a lot of excitement on one side of the field and a lot of brooding on the other.
The degree to which opponents consider the endless noise coming from the mouths of the Darien players as obnoxious probably depends on how bad the beating.
Because as the only undefeated team in conference play with a 13-0 mark, and a stunning 75 runs scored in the last six games, there has been an endless and eclectic mix of country music and Jimi Hendrix exploding from the field’s speakers.
With just five games left in the regular season, the Blue Wave (13-2) have established themselves for the time being as the favorite when the FCIAC Tournament begins in two weeks. It is a tenuous title; they have just a two-game lead, there is a talented pack of strong teams right behind them and their first-round opponent will feature a No. 1 pitcher capable of shutting them down.
Baseball is the one sport where sometimes the hottest and not the best team wins the championship, but in a year when the quality of the sport is again at a high level, it says something that Darien has been able to navigate the minefield thus far without a misstep.
“We just have a lot of confidence in each other,” said Anthony DiMeglio, who spends most of his time behind the plate and some of it on the mound, and went 2 for 3 and scored three runs against Wilton. “We pick each other up and count on one another.”
Darien scored two runs it should not have in the second, the result of an error on a potential inning-ending double play grounder, a catcher’s interference call and a passed ball.
It was a tough break for Wilton ace JT Morin, who was roughed up for four runs in the fifth.
The Blue Wave tacked on six more runs in the sixth, including Peter Archey’s towering grand slam to center. He finished with two hits and six RBIs. Mike O’Malley went 3 for 3 and scored three times.
“The inning that I really concentrated on with the kids is the one when we gave them seven outs,” Wilton coach Tim Eagen said. “You can’t give a good hitting team seven outs or you are going to pay the price. And we did.”
Darien’s offense has been frightening in its explosiveness throughout the order.
“I don’t know what to say about it,” Darien coach Mike Scott said. “They are a confident group and they keep swinging. The good thing is they are having good at bats. They are getting good pitches to hit and making the most of the opportunities.”
Little has been made of the Blue Wave’s pitching. Stephen Barston pitched a complete-game 5-hitter to improve to 5-1. He lost a shutout in the final inning. DiMeglio is 3-0.
“No one is talking about a kid like Stephen Barston,” Scott said. “He doesn’t blow it by anybody. He doesn’t have the best stuff, but if there is a better pitcher I want to see him. He’s been tremendous.”
DiMeglio is the rare pitcher-catcher combo, which has given him insight into his team’s strengths unique to some of his teammates.
“I think as a pitcher when I’m catching and as a hitter when I’m pitching, so I see it from both sides,” DiMeglio said. “That helps me out.”
Wilton, very much a player in the title hunt, demonstrated again that it is going to be more dependent on pitching than other teams, but will have the depth if it can get by the first round.
Is it possible for Darien to win the title with so much offense should its pitching suddenly falter?
“I’d like to say so,” DiMeglio said. “If the pitching is off one day, I think the bats can pick it up.”
Scott knows the playing field changes in two weeks, especially if the Blue Wave can complete an unbeaten regular season in league play.
“Everyone is going to be gunning for us. I understand that,” Scott said. “We will keep playing our brand of baseball and not let the distractions get to us.
Top Of The Order
1. Darien (13-2). A special and deserved shoutout to second baseman Danny Siemers. With all the country music blaring out of the speakers as Blue Wave players came to bat, it was reassuring to hear a little Jimi Hendrix.
2-6. New Canaan, Fairfield Warde, Wilton, Norwalk, Staples. Anyone have any ideas how to rank these teams? Warde and Wilton have the deepest pitching, Staples is coming on strong and it is unknown how the Rams will compensate for the loss of Alex LaPolice. As for Norwalk, everyone is waiting for the bubble to burst. It isn’t happening.