By Hayley Tafuro
DARIEN — The seniors took charge in No. 3 Darien’s Class LL state quarterfinal win against No. 6 Newtown on Friday, where they closed it out with a final score of 3-2.
“The main thing was to just go out and play our game,” senior pitcher Erika Osherow said. “I knew on the mound things got tighter than we would’ve liked, and credit to Newtown because they did an awesome job staying with us.”
The Blue Wave jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. After Newtown walked Osherow, senior second baseman Kelly Vodola stepped up and connected on a bunt. Newtown overthrew second base, which propelled Vodola to third and sent Osherow home to score. Senior catcher Rebecca DeMaio came up to bat and sacrificed Vodola home for run number two.
“You’ve got to have confidence that you’re going to make the play,” Vodola said. “What I’m thinking about during that is that it’s just like practice.”
Newtown came out ready to attack in the second inning, and strung together a series of hits, including a big double that put runners on second and third. With two outs, Osherow struck out the last batter to squash the chance of a Newtown run.
Osherow went on for two more innings striking out batters with two outs on the board and runners on third. This set Darien up to increase its lead in the top of the fourth.
Cassidy Schiff got a base hit and stole second base off of an errant Newtown pitch. Sophia Barbour sacrificed to advance Schiff to third, and she scored off of Lexi Lopiano’s base hit, making it 3-0 for the Blue Wave.
However, Newtown shined in the top of the fifth. It got runners on first and second after two misplays from the Darien infield, and a sacrifice advanced them to second and third. Newtown’s Emily Woznick then got a base hit that sent two runners home, cutting the lead to one run.
“We were getting tight on defense and once one miscue happens, it’s like hitting, it can get contagious,” Darien coach Nick DeMaio said. “As soon as we made a defensive mistake we tightened up, and Erika really had to bear down and get us through this.”
The Darien defense redeemed itself with big plays coming from DeMaio, who in the top of the sixth started out the inning with a key out caught from a foul ball. From there, Osherow took over, and come the top of the seventh, following two Osherow strikeouts, rightfielder Kristen Picard made the game-sealing out on a fly ball hit right her way.
“With the tension of the game, that’s a nice catch.” DeMaio said. “You’ve got to feel good about the next one because we made every mistake we could make in this one.”
With that, the Blue Wave will be heading on to the Class LL semifinal round.
“We’re very excited to be going to the semifinals,” Osherow said. “Relying on my team was the biggest part, just knowing that we would make the plays, basically just knowing that everybody was in it together.”
“We want to see more teams, and we want to keep playing,” Vodola said. “This is our last time.”