Darien softball team defeats Trumbull behind DeMaio's big day
Jessica DeMaio's reputation has been fashioned primarily due to her arm.
People tend to forget her bat is an equally proficient weapon.
In what turned into a showcase for her versatility, DeMaio threw a three-hitter at home against Trumbull on Wednesday afternoon, finishing with three hits, including a game-breaking two-run homer, and four RBIs to spark an impressive 10-1 victory.
"She did a good job," said Nick DeMaio, who is both the Blue Wave's coach and Jessica's uncle. "I didn't think she had her best stuff but she held it together. Even when she doesn't have her best stuff she still gives you a good performance."
DeMaio tamed a Trumbull team that was coming off an 11-hit performance in an 8-7, 8-inning loss to Westhill on Monday. The Vikings and Darien meet Friday in one of the most highly anticipated games of the FCIAC regular season.
"I think Trumbull is a really good offensive team, but my defense helped me out a lot today," Jessica DeMaio said. "There were a lot of ground balls."
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Two of the three changes in the Blue Wave's starting lineup from a year ago, when they won the FCIAC championship, are at the two middle infield positions. Perhaps the player most under a microscope is Erika Osherow, who has taken over at shortstop for Nicole Buch, who was one of the state's best players.
DeMaio, who struck out three and walked two, got 10 ground ball outs.
"Up the middle we are new, but they are very good athletes who cover a lot of ground," Nick DeMaio said of Osherow and second baseman Julia Domizano. And the corners are very good. (Third baseman Courtney) Bell has the best hands on the team."
Olivia Gozdz also had three hits and drove in a pair of runs for the Blue Wave (3-1), while Emma Hamilton added an RBI single.
Darien struck for three runs in the second against the Eagles' Maddie Festa. Hamilton drew a leadoff walk and, one out later, Brittany Osborn singled to center and Kelly Vodola reached on a bunt to load the bases. Osherow's sacrifice fly made the score 1-0 and DeMaio and Gozdz followed with RBI singles.
DeMaio's home run over the left-field fence ignited a three-run fourth inning that made the score 6-0.
"I wasn't really looking to hit a home run, I was just looking to get a good swing on the ball and it hung up there too long and I got a good swing at it," Jessica DeMaio said.
Darien scored four more times in the sixth. DeMaio, Gozdz and Hamilton each drove in runs with base hits and another run came in when Osborn was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
"Losing a great player like Nicole is tough," Jessica DeMaio said. "She's hard to replace, but the new girls are really stepping up."
Nick DeMaio said it is too early in the season to get a good read on his team.
"I don't know how to gauge it yet," he said. "We had the loss to Masuk, but we've done what we've had to in the other games. I don't think we are at our peak yet."
Friday's game with Westhill, which also lost to Masuk, should prove a good indicator for both teams.
"It should be exciting," Jessica DeMaio said. "They are a good team with a lot of good players. It's a good friendly rivalry."
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