Season starts with open competition on Darien diamond
Published 3:31 pm, Wednesday, April 13, 2011
To say that the Darien Blue Wave baseball team will have a new look in 2011 would be an understatement. The Blue Wave graduated nine players in 2010, leaving an array of openings at several starting positions.
According to third year head coach Mike Scott, nothing has been set in stone.
"Anytime you have turnover like that, we're going to have new guys in the lineup no matter what," Scott said. "We're trying to find the best mix of guys that play the best defense and the best offense, the best combination. There's an ongoing competition."
Even though the Blue Wave had some uncertainty as to who will take the field at what position and in what spot in the batting order on Opening Day, senior captain and shortstop Dan Pidgeon suggested that it could actually turn out to be a positive for his squad.
"All these kids know that they have a shot to get into the starting lineup every day, so it just makes them work that much harder in practice and get that much better," Pidgeon said. "If someone feels that an underclassmen might be working towards taking their spot, it'll make them kind of get going and make sure that they're putting in the work at practice and make sure that they do what they need to do in order to get on the field."
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Although the starting lineup is always subject to change, Pidgeon started season at shortstop with Sam Gillespie doing the majority of the catching. Returning starter Justin Pryor is likely to start in the outfield.
The Blue Wave closed out the 2010 regular season with a record of 8-12, just meeting the minimum win requirement to squeak into the state tournament. However, Darien was one-and-done in the postseason after dropping a 7-4 decision to Fairfield Ludlowe in the opening round of the Class L Tournament.
Like so many baseball teams, Darien is relying on a quality mix of upper and underclassmen to improve upon last year's record.
"We definitely have a lot of talented juniors and some talented sophomores up on the team this year," senior captain and starting pitcher Andrew Hurn said. "That's always our goal every year is to get as far as we can in the playoffs because we want to be as competitive as we can for as long as we can."
Scott and his players seem to be anticipating more than a single postseason clash at the conclusion of the 20-game regular season.
"Obviously, we lost a lot from [last year's] team, but the goals still remain the same and that's to try to win every game that we're in and make it back to the postseason, both state's and FCIACs," Scott said.
Darien has started the 2011 season with a record of 3-1.
The Blue Wave defeated Bassick 20-0, topped New Fairfield 5-3, lost to Trumbull 3-0 and edged New Canaan 2-1.