Danbury knocks off Darien
DARIEN — The Danbury baseball team picked a fine time for its most productive inning of the year.
Trailing by two in the top of the sixth, the No. 20 Hatters exploded for six runs and went on to defeat 13th-ranked Darien 7-3 in the first round of the Class LL tournament Tuesday in Darien.
Danbury will face No. 4 New Milford on the road Wednesday.
“It was by far our best inning of the year,” Danbury coach Shaun Ratchford said. “We put some good swings on the ball, we hit the ball with two strikes, we hit the ball with two outs, we were comfortable finally. With all the rain, we didn’t get batting practice, all of it came inside or off soft-toss, we didn’t have any live BP and in the beginning it showed.”
Danbury starter Noah Meeks allowed nine hits, but buckled down when he needed to, holding the potent Darien lineup at bay.
Meeks was rewarded by the Hatters offense for his hard work.
“It allows me to be comfortable,” Meeks said of being handed the lead after the sixth. “But not too comfortable. I’m always battling, they’re a good team but being at the varsity level for a couple years has helped me know what to do in every situation.”
“In this type of one-and-done environment, you have to take advantage of those opportunities,” Darien coach Mike Scott said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way today.”
Going forward, Ratchford knows what he wants his team to take away from Tuesday’s win.
“Nothing,” Ratchford laughed. “The state tournament is about win today and play tomorrow. We have to assume we’re going to win a 1-0 game tomorrow; that’s the hardest part to teach kids, what happens today in baseball means nothing.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Meeks. The senior lefty kept the powerful Darien offense at bay. Despite giving up nine hits, the Blue Wave were only able to tally three runs off Meeks.
“That’s what you want as a senior and that’s why I gave him a game ball,” Ratchford said. “He battles…I asked him, ‘Are you going to finish what you start?’ And he said, ‘I’m going to finish what I start.’ ”
After Danbury took the lead in the top of the sixth, first baseman Nick Gervasio put on a defensive clinic in the bottom half of the frame. The senior captain had a backhanded pick for the first out, stretched into a full split for the second and caught a popup to end the inning.
It’s no secret Darien is a lacrosse town, but after winning the FCIAC last year and stringing together several successful seasons, Scott has turned Blue Wave baseball into a legitimate program at DHS.
DANBURY 7, DARIEN 3
DANBURY 000 0060 1—7 10 1
DARIEN 000 020 1—3 9 3
Batteries: DAN—Noah Meeks (W) and Mike Halas; DAR—Henry Williams (L), Jake Geddes (6), Jackson Vaught (7) and Cord Fox.