FAIRFIELD - It looked like the Darien softball team had things well under control on Monday, as flamethrower Erika Osherow dominated from the circle, just as she had all season. But, in the end, Fairfield Ludlowe had other ideas. The Falcons, despite 13 team strikeouts, came up with clutch hits during the late innings to eke out a 3-2 win at Sturges Field.
With the win, Ludlowe improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the FCIAC, while the Blue Wave falls to the same mark overall and to 1-1 in conference play.
Osherow was a force from start to finish, collecting six strikeouts in the first two innings and going 2-4 at the plate by game's end. In the top of the third, the Darien hurler launched a solo home run to deep left center, before Julia Domiziano and Rebecca DeMaio hit a pair of singles that resulted in another run for the Wave.
"Erika is one of the best in the conference, if not the state, and we respect her completely," said Fairfield Ludlowe co-captain Brenna Martini. "But we were able to get those timely hits, and I don't think we've peaked yet."
When the Falcons did manage to connect at the plate, they had an uncanny knack for finding the gaps in the Wave's defense. Ludlowe finally lit up the scoreboard in the fourth inning, when Martini, who went 3 for 3 on the day, singled. Two batters later, Alice Nelson drilled a triple to deep left field to bring home the lone run of the frame.
As Osherow continued to strike out Falcon batters, Ludlowe's Bridget Anderson continued to steadily retire Blue Wave hitters. Both pitchers went the distance for their teams.
With three outs to go, Darien knocked on the door when Osherow smacked a double and then advanced to third base. Though, the Falcons defense came through to lock down the win.
"Ludlowe did a great job hitting the ball," said Darien coach Nick DeMaio. "They hit a few in the gap where there is nothing you can do. Nobody catches those balls. I would have liked if we had some better at-bats, but you have to give them credit. We'll recover from this and go on from here."
"We went out there a little flat, and we just need to bring our intensity up," said Domiziano. "We need to go out there in every game, and play with everything we have. This is just one game."
In contrast, Ludlowe coach Shari Paci was thrilled with her team's performance.
"This is a huge boost of confidence for us. We've been working extremely hard in practice on clutch hitting, and now we know that we can play anybody."
Fairfield Ludlowe 3, Darien 2
Darien 0020000 -- 2
Fairfield Ludlowe 000102--3
Batteries D -- Erika Osherow (L) and Rebecca DeMaio, FL -- Bridget Anderson (W) and Katie DeCarlo.
Home runs: D--Erika Osherow
Triples: FL--Alice Nelson, Brenna Martini
Doubles: D--Erika Osherow