Darien beats Westhill to reach FCIAC softball final
FAIRFIELD -- Darien's Erika Osherow is accustom to winning games with her arm as arguably the best pitcher in the FCIAC, but when she had a rare lapse in the circle, it was her bat delivering the Blue Wave to glory in the FCIAC semifinals.
After Westhill tied the score 1-1 with a run off Osherow in the top of the seventh, Osherow sent a 3-1 pitch over the centerfield fence for a three-run home run, giving Darien a 4-1 walk off-win in the FCIAC semifinals.
Darien will now face No. 1 St. Joseph Thursday's championship game at Sacred Heart University.
Osherow said she plays the game for moments like Thursday's, when she was swarmed by her teammates at home plate.
"It's amazing and you know what? That's why we play the game," Osherow said. "Moments like those you have to capitalize and that's what we did. It wasn't this close when we played them in the regular season. They played great and capitalized on my mistakes, pitching wise. They showed a lot of heart and lot of dedication to the sport."
Osherow struck out 11, picking up the win.
Westhill had only managed three hits going into the seventh but Erica Gambino doubled leading off the inning.
After two outs, Jordan Benzaken ripped a two-strike pitch to left center field for a double, scoring Gambino and tying the game at 1-1.
Westhill coach Tom Pia said the Vikings made a slight adjustment, allowing them to catch up to Osherow in the seventh inning.
"This is the second time we have seen her and that helped a lot," Pia said. "The kids opened up their hips a little bit and got their hands through and hit the ball. The adjustment in the later innings was to open our hips so we can get our hands through earlier."
Vikings starter Sadie Apfel was Osherow's equal for most of the game, allowing just a fourth inning run to keep her team within striking distance.
Darien coach Nick DeMaio said he is confident that once the lineup turned over in the seventh and Osherow came to bat, she would put a good swing on the ball.
"Very rarely does she get cheated," DeMaio said. "You couldn't have set it up any better. I had the hitter up there I wanted to have. You have to give them credit. That's a good program and that's what good programs do. They don't rebuild, they reload."
Darien 4, Westhill 1
WESTHILL 000 000 1 -- 1 5 1
DARIEN 000 100 3 -- 4 7 1
Records: D 20-2; W 14-7
Batteries: D -- Erkia Osherow (W) and Rebeccas DeMaio; W -- Sadie Apfel (L) and Jordan Benzaken
Doubles: W -- Benzaken, Erica Gambino. Home runs: D -- Osherow