Darien American baseball team falls to North Stamford
STAMFORD -- Nick Conte, who terrorized North Stamford last year when Darien American reached the District 1 championship, would have represented the tying run had he not been left in the on-deck circle as Wednesday's game ended. But, in all honesty, this District 1 Little League Tournament contest may very well have been decided just after it began.
"The first inning was huge," North Stamford manager Rico Imbrogno said after his team beat Darien American 7-2 in the opening round of pool play at Chestnut Hill Park. "That was the game right there."
Darien American made it interesting by loading the bases with no outs in the sixth inning. They didn't score off North Stamford reliever Noah Skaug, who didn't allow Conte, who had homered earlier, to get up. They also didn't score in a similar situation in the top of the first.
The first three batters for Darien American reached base in the first inning. Then came the biggest play of the game. Clean-up hitter Jack Maley hit a shot right back to the mound and North Stamford's winning pitcher Aiden Cahill promptly started a rather unlikely home-to-third double play.
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"The double play was the biggest play of the game," Imbrogno said. "That set the tone."
After a walk, Cahill retired the next batter leaving Darien American with nothing to show for the rally.
That was in contrast to the bottom of the first, when North Stamford also put the first three batters on base. The difference was two runs scored on Sammy Spingola's double and Bobby Zmarzlak's single.
"That first inning was the way the game went for us," said Darien American manager Tom Conte, whose team left nine runners stranded on base. "The first inning kind of dictated the way the game went."
Darien American had at least one baserunner in every inning but only scored on losing pitcher's Jackson Vaught's RBI single in the fourth and Conte's long solo homer in the fifth.
North Stamford, meanwhile, followed up its opening-inning success with a four-spot in the second. Cahill's leadoff homer got the ball rolling and Zmarzlak's two-run double and a sacrifice fly by Nico Morse made it 6-0.
"The first-inning double play was big and then Aiden's homer really got us in gear," Imbrogno said.
North Stamford added a run in the fourth on Jason Bria's fielder's choice grounder.
The win gained a measure of revenge for the remaining North Stamford all-stars who were a part of last year's team. Darien American beat them in the first pool-play game and then again in the District semifinals with Nick Conte playing a key role.
"I would've loved to see Nick come up in the sixth with a chance to tie it but I have confidence in all the kids on the team." Tom Conte said.
Vaught led Darien, which hosts Weston Saturday at noon, with two hits. Zmarzlak had two hits and three RBI for North Stamford, which hosts Springdale Saturday at noon.
North Stamford 7, Darien American 2
DARIEN AMERICAN 000 110--2 7 2
NORTH STAMFORD 240 10X 7 5 1
Records: Darien American 0-1, North Stamford 1-0. Batteries: DA--Jackson Vaught (L), Nick Conte (2), Jack Maley (5) and Brian Cicero; NS--Aiden Cahill (W), Noah Skaug (5) and Nico Morse. Highlights: DA--Vaught had two hits, Conte had a solo home run. NS--Bobby Zmarzlak had a single, double and three RBI, Cahill had a solo home run, struck out five and allowed one run on five hits in four innings, Sammy Spingola had an RBI double.