Darien 14U Babe Ruth All Stars take second place in District 1 Tournament
In a holiday weekend filled with baseball in the sweltering heat at Strazza Field in Greenwich, the Darien 14U Babe Ruth All Stars played three one-run ballgames and almost the equivalent of another full game of extra innings before finally losing to eventual winner Stamford in District 1 play.
Thursday's contest took nine innings to decide with Stamford taking the first game 3-2. Darien put the first run on the board in the top of the first with Mike O'Malley scoring from second base on a Drew Costantino single. The battery of Stephen Barston and Liam Gallagher kept Stamford at bay until it pulled even in the second and took the lead with another in the third.
Jack O'Neill's backhand stab at short and throw across the diamond to first baseman Peter Torrente shut down a bases loaded threat that ended the inning. Darien was able to tie the score in the top of the sixth as Matt Pettit scored on a Barston single and the two teams settled in for some extra baseball with Stamford scratching across the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
Tyler Costantino pitched five strong innings in relief with Kyle Canelli and Lee Gardella splitting time at second base.
Game two pitted Darien against host Greenwich and Darien scored three in the top of the first. Jack O'Neill led off with a well earned walk followed by another issued to Jamie Schofield. Mike O'Malley reached on an error that scored O'Neill, who beat the throw home sliding under the tag, and a single by Drew Costantino cleared the bases and scored Schofield and O'Malley.
Greenwich scored one in the first, tied the game up in the bottom of the second at 3-3 and took the lead in the third. Darien fought back in the top of the fifth with O'Malley singling, stealing second and scoring on a Tyler Costantino single.
Both teams settled in for another four innings of extra work with Darien stopping numerous scoring threats by Greenwich, including a Gardella peg to Barston at third on an attempted sacrifice bunt. O'Boyle and Pettit made catches in the outfield on sinking line drives to stop further scoring threats, and Kyle Canelli making a play at second base to end another inning.
Darien threatened in the ninth with O'Malley being thrown out at the plate attempting to score from first on a Matt Pettit triple to left. Greenwich took the lead in the top of the 11th, but Darien was not to be denied as Schofield scored on a Tyler Costantino sacrifice fly and O'Malley scoring the winning run after being intentionally walked on a Drew Costantino single for the 7-6 win.
Lee Gardella logged six strong innings in relief with O'Malley pitching the first five.
The eventual Championship game pitted Darien against Stamford once again. Darien scored the first two runs in the top of the first with Schofield and O'Malley drawing walks and crossing the plate, but a big inning was ended with the bases loaded after a single by Pettit and walks to Barston and Canelli. Stamford scored two of its own, knotting the score at 2-2 after one.
Darien took the lead in the third and starting pitcher Jack O'Neill mixed up speeds and kept Stamford off balance until it plated the tying run in the bottom of the fourth. Stamford threatened to score again, but Tyler Costantino's diving catch in center with the bases loaded ended that threat. Stamford scored what was to be the winning run in the bottom of the fifth and held on 4-3 to end Darien's reign as 13U District Champs earned a year ago that ended a 42-year drought.