Darien falls to Wilton, eyes Opening Day
Updated 2:29 pm, Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Darien Blue Wave fell to the Wilton Warriors 10-7 in a scrimmage on Wednesday at Darien High School. Wilton put up a four-spot in the top of the first inning, only to see its lead evaporate as Darien managed to tie the game at 7-7 by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth. However, Wilton tacked on a run in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh to score the preseason victory.
For third-year Darien head coach Mike Scott, however, the scrimmage was more about trying to get ready for the regular season than it was about the final score. After losing nine players to graduation from the 2010 squad, Scott indicated that there are multiple ongoing position battles, and that nothing has been set in stone.
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"Any time you have turnover like that, you're going to have new guys in the lineup no matter what," Scott said. "So right now we're trying to find the best mix of guys and see who play the best defense and the best offense, the best combination. There's ongoing competition and we won't know what our lineup is until the day of our first game."
Shortstop and senior captain Dan Pidgeon, who sent a solo home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the fifth, suggested that the heightened competition for starting roles could be beneficial to his squad, which is coming off of an 8-12 campaign in 2010.
"We lost to some teams last year that we definitely should have beat, but this year I think we have a lot of guys who work hard at every practice," Pidgeon said. "All these kids know that they've got a shot to get into the starting lineup every day, so it just makes them work that much harder in practice and get that much better."
Darien's 8-12 record was good enough to sneak them into the State tournament in 2010, however, they were quickly eliminated by Fairfield Ludlowe in the opening round.
"Our goal every year is to get as far as we can in the playoffs in State's and FCIACs and be as competitive as we can for as long as we can," senior captain and pitcher Andrew Hurn said. "We have a lot of bats that can help us this year, and our [pitching] staff is going to hold up. We have enough guys to keep the innings going and our fielding is solid."
Darien will host a jamboree on Saturday at 9 a.m. against McMahon, Staples and Greenwich in what will be its final tune-up before the regular season begins. Darien's Opening Day is on Wednesday in the form of a road game against Bassick.
"We lost a lot from [last year's] team, but the goals still remain the same," Scott said. "And that's to try to win every game we're in and make it back to the postseason."