Smacking a go-ahead triple in a critical moment simply wasn't enough for Darien catcher Anthony DiMeglio. In the midst of his return from a personal hitting slump, he needed more.
Upon stepping to the plate with two outs in a tied, extra-inning game, he got it.
DiMeglio crushed a walk-off home run to left field in the eighth inning Monday to hand the Blue Wave a 5-4 win over Greenwich. The long ball capped a 3-for-3 day for the junior, who collected two RBIs and scored twice. Darien improved to 11-1 on the season and kept its grip on the FCIAC's top slot with a 9-1 mark in conference play.
"We're in a spot where we're not normally in the league," Wave coach Mike Scott said. "So, we have a bit of a bull's-eye on our back. I think these guys are embracing it a little bit. But we've got to be ready to take other teams' best punches now."
Cardinals starter James Hintzen threw his best uppercut at Darien Monday with seven, strong innings of work that included 12 strikeouts. By way of two fielding errors and a string of Wave hits, he surrendered four runs in the fourth inning, his only subpar frame of the day. Greenwich (8-4, 4-4 FCIAC) later came back to tie the game in the sixth, but failed to plate a go-ahead run in the final moments.
"JT did great. We just have to make basic plays behind him," Greenwich coach Phil Tarantino said. "We were doing that for the last four games, and today we had one bad inning."
Darien's Brendan Donohue picked up the win after relieving starter Stephen Barston in the top of the sixth of a 4-2 ballgame. The Wave's regular second baseman began by handing two walks to the first three Cardinal hitters and giving up a game-tying RBI single to Michael Genaro, before settling down for good.
Once the game became tied, Donohue allowed only a single base runner, while striking out five.
"Brendan's our guy," Scott said. "He's the heart and soul of this team as far as the way he plays and what he brings to the team. He ¦ was probably a little amped at the beginning, leaving a couple balls up. But he settled down and did a tremendous job in those last two innings."
Greenwich cruised through the opening three frames with a 1-0 lead, following a Kyle Dunster RBI double in the first. Dunster then added a solo home run in the fourth, only to watch his team lose its edge in the home half of the inning.
Darien third baseman George Reed led off by reaching a pop fly that dropped into shallow left, setting the table for back-to-back doubles from Conor Davey and Mike O'Malley. Next, DiMeglio sent O'Malley home on triple to deep right and scored one at-bat later via a Peter Archey single that pushed the Wave lead to two.
"(Hintzen) was keeping everything down and away and that's a tough pitch to hit," DiMeglio said. "But once you drive it the other way, it feels good ¦ When we saw him a few times, I think we got the hang of him."
Greenwich will travel next to Fairfield Ludlowe on Wednesday, while Darien host another conference power in St. Joseph. However, DiMeglio and the upstart Wave fail to be fazed by their upcoming schedule, one that includes every top FCIAC contender in the next two weeks.
Just ask him.
"We can beat any team in this league."
Darien 5, Greenwich 4
Greenwich 100 102 00--4 6 2
Darien 000 400 00--5 10 0
Records: Darien 11-1, 9-1 FCIAC; Greenwich 8-4, 4-4 FCIAC. Batteries: G--James Hintzen, John Mikalopas (8) and Jon Dreher; D--Stephen Barston, Brendan Donohue (6) and Anthony DiMeglio. Highlights: G--Hintzen struck out 12 batters over seven innings of work. Kyle Dunster hit a solo home run to left in the fourth inning. D--Anthony Dimeglio smashed a walk-off home run in the eighth inning, after plating a go-ahead run in the fourth with a triple. Mike O'Malley tied the game on a 2-run double on a full count in the fourth inning.