Darien unable to hold late-inning lead against Greenwich
Published 3:25 pm, Thursday, May 5, 2011
Keeping their Cardinals within reach of Darien after digging a five-run hole, the shortstop and third baseman led an error-free defense, allowing Greenwich to battle back and tie the game in the sixth.
However, it was their bats that proved to be most valuable in extra innings.
Legging out a double to lead off the bottom of the ninth, Callahan advanced to third during the next at-bat on an error before Fennell hit a sac fly to deep center, scoring him for the winning run in a much-needed 6-5 victory for Greenwich (5-5, 5-5).
More InformationFact box
"I can't say enough," Greenwich manager Mike Mora said. "Dylan and Cameron, I mean, two-out plays, balls in the hole, tremendous plays," Cameron's a sophomore, Dylan's a junior, but they were playing bigger than that today."
As for Fennell, "I wasn't really nervous because my coach told me just to hit it like any other time. Just got to get it out there."
The Blue Wave (5-6, 4-5 FCIAC) did their damage in the first four innings, scoring three runs against starter Brian Hoff and two against Alex Smith, who has been mixed in and out of the starting rotation.
"We were sitting pretty there up 5-0," Darien manager Mike Scott said. "We were looking good, but it just came down to execution. We didn't execute. When it comes down to that, it's tough to swallow."
Smith, relieving Hoff to begin the fourth, gave up a pair of runs -- including an RBI-triple from Sam Boccuzzi -- before pitching five scoreless innings of one-hit ball.
Outhitting the Blue Wave 11-5 on the day, the Cardinals finally began to bring base runners across the plate in the middle innings.
Smith hit a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth, and right fielder Matt Tate stroked a sixth inning RBI-single, setting up the chain of events that tied the game a batter later.
With the bases loaded and one out, Louis Pulitano hit an RBI sac fly while Smith got caught in a rundown tagging from first to second.
Tate -- also tagging up -- took advantage, advancing to third and then home on a throwing error trying to get Smith out at first.
"That inning where they tied the ball game up, the momentum swung," Scott said. "They were able to keep it on their side until they finally pushed the run across. That's something we've just got to suck it up and get back to our game and get more runners on base. We didn't do that."
After the pivotal inning, neither team recorded a hit until Greenwich's heroics in the ninth.
Feeling the parity of the league, both dugouts can commiserate on a turbulent season that has seen each team endure four-game losing streaks.
Darien is currently on the downswing, dropping five out of six, while Greenwich has rebounded from an 0-4 start to win five of six.
"(The victory) kind of saves us right now," Mora said.
"(A possible) 4-6 means you pretty much have only got room for maybe two more losses. Usually it's around seven or eight that the last seed gets into the playoffs, so it means you have to be perfect after that. But I think it just means a lot more for the morale."
Since the loss to Staples, Darien also dropped a 6-4 decision at Trinity Catholic on Monday. Darien began the 2011 campaign with a promising 4-1 record, but the Blue Wave have gone just 1-6 since then.
Sitting at 5-7, Darien will need an exeptionally strong finish in order to fullfill its preseason goal of making the FCIAC tournament. The State tournament, however, remains a strong possibility as the Wave need three more wins to qualify.