By Scott Ericson

DARIEN — Second baseman Brendan Donohue has been a bellwether for the Darien baseball team this season.

It has been a safe bet if Donohue is going well in the leadoff spot and in the field, the rest of the Blue Wave will follow his lead.

So, there may have been a collective gulp from the Blue Wave when Donohue threw the first groundball of the game well wide of first base for an error, leading to a first-inning Avon run.

Donohue quickly changed course, doubling in each of his first two at bats, scoring a run and tightening up his defense, leading No. 7 Darien to a 5-3 win over No. 10 Avon in the second round of the Class L tournament.

He also relieved starter Stephen Barston, picking up the save while allowing just one hit and striking out two over two innings of work.

“He’s the catalyst. If he goes, we go,” Darien coach Mike Scott said. “Getting him on opens up the rest of our offense. To have him on in those situations makes the team go. When he is on top of his game, this is a tough team to beat.”

Darien (17-6) will travel to Milford to take on No. 2 Jonathan Law Friday in the quarterfinals.

Donohue said he was feeling good coming into the game and was able to square up a few pitches and drive them into gaps.

“I took some extra swings after last game and I saw the ball well today, I guess,” Donohue said. “Their pitcher had some good off-speed stuff and the second time through we were able to really hit him hard. Even when we made outs we hit the ball hard right at people.”

Avon (14-7) got up 1-0, scoring an unearned run on a single to left by Jarred Rosenblatt.

The Falcons had other opportunities to put runs on the board but too often left runners according to coach Marty Delivron.

“There are just times we didn’t get key hits with runners in scoring position,” Delivron said. “We took some bad swings I thought and that hurt us a little bit and then we made a couple defensive mistakes, too. We kept playing but their starter gutted it out.”

Barston settled in after the first inning, setting the Falcons down until they broke through with two runs in the fifth.

Darien got three in the third, two on a double to right center field by Connor Davey and another on a throwing error by Avon.

The Blue Wave added another in the fourth with Davey again driving in No. 9 hitter Mike Maccarone, this time with a single.

Maccarone walked and scored in both the third and fourth innings to begin the rallies.

After Avon cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the fifth, a Peter Archey groundout brought home an insurance run for Darien.

Darien catcher Anthony DiMeglio had his hand sliced by a spike while trying to make a diving play at home plate after a wild pitch in the fifth inning and had to leave the game.

Scott.Ericson@scni.com; @EricsonSports

Darien 5, Avon 3

AVON100 020 0 – 3 6 2

DARIEN003 110 X – 5 7 1

Records: D – 17-6; A – 14-7

Batteries: D – Stephen Barston (W), Brendan Donohue (S, 6) and Anthony DiMeglio, T.J. Adietta (5)

Doubles: D – Donohue 2, Connor Davey; A – Steven Carrier