By Haley Tafuro
FAIRFIELD— It all came down to the bottom of the seventh inning between Darien and Westhill during the FCIAC softball semifinals, but in the end, it was a sea of blue that poured out to home plate to mob Blue Wave junior Erika Osherow after she delivered a walk off three-run home run for a 4-1 win.
“You know that’s why we play the game,” Osherow said. “It’s moments like those you have to capitalize and that’s what we did.”
Both teams were held scoreless until the fourth inning when the Blue Wave’s Rebecca DeMaio drove Julia Domiziano home with a base hit. Cassidy Schiff helped set up the play with a bunt on the previous at-bat to advance Domiziano to second base.
Westhill, however, would not go down quietly.
In the top of the seventh, senior Erica Gambino led off with a deep double to centerfield. After the Blue Wave caught a bunt by Sadie Apfel, the Vikings’ Jordan Benzaken came up to bat and knocked another double into centerfield, sending Gambino all the way home to tie it.
Darien came to bat holding its fate.
“I had confidence that we would come up and do something at the bottom of the seventh,” Blue Wave coach Nick DeMaio said.
The rest of the team seemed to think like its coach.
Sophomore Lexi LoPiano started things off immediately with a base hit. When Darien’s Avery Maley moved LoPiano along with a bunt in the next turn, things began looking familiar to the Blue Wave’s play in the fourth inning. What changed was Apfel walked the designated player, Christina Chariott, bringing Osherow up to bat.
“She held it together,” Nick DeMaio said. “The team held it together, and that set up what we were able to do.”
Osherow not only had a stellar performance at bat, but also on the mound for the Blue Wave in her second day in a row pitching.
“(Westhill) came out and played a great game,” Osherow said. “They capitalized on all my mistakes pitching-wise.”
The Vikings made solid defensive plays throughout the game, including in the bottom of the fifth when Maley overstepped her lead at first and Westhill first baseman Kaira Ramon made the tag to get the out. Despite the Vikings’ rally in the seventh, there was no answer for Osherow’s picture-perfect ending.
“It battles down to the last inning, and that’s what I told them to prepare for,” Nick DeMaio said. “Prepare for a game that goes down to the wire, because at this point with four teams left, there’s not a favorite.”
Darien will play top-seeded St. Joseph, which beat Stamford in the second semifinal, for the title on Thursday.