Darien edges Greenwich to win FCIAC regular-season baseball title
Led by O’Malley, who bashed a solo homer to left field in the second inning and threw out a would-be Greenwich base-stealer to end the game, Darien defeated the Cardinals 1-0. The win clinched the Blue Wave’s second-straight FCIAC regular-season title and the top seed for this weekend’s conference tournament. Darien, which plays at Trumbull Tuesday, improved to 17-2 overall and 13-2 in the FCIAC.
“Definitely throwing him out,” O’Malley said of which play felt better. “It’s awesome, our pitchers did awesome today.”
Throwing to O’Malley Monday afternnon were Andrew Winsch (five innings) and Rich Brereton (save) who combined to spin a shutout despite nine Cardinal hits.
“We got great pitching on the mound from Winsch and Richard Brereton and the defense was outstanding today,” Darien manager Mike Scott said. “We couldn’t have played a better defensive game (no errors) and that’s what it took. We got one fortunate hit, it wasn’t lucky, but it was fortunate that the ball sailed out of here.”
In the third, fourth and fifth innings Greenwich left a combined five men on base with the biggest moment of the game coming in the fifth.
“That was probably the hardest hit ball of the game there and that’s baseball,” Scott said. “It could have easily been over his head and scored two runs but in those situations the guys rely on their preparation, they prepare so hard it’s just another play for them.”
On the opposite side, Greenwich starter Connor Langan (five innings) and John Adimari combined to limit the Blue Wave bats to just two hits, doing nothing to diminish their coach’s opinion of his squad.
“We did a couple things that we need to correct, but I love our energy,” said Cards coach Phil Tarantino, whose team dipped to 12-6 and 11-4 . “I think we’re the best team in the league — I’m just going to say it. Nobody picked us to do anything this year and this has been our effort all year and I’m proud of this team.”
There were plenty of storylines in Monday’s battle between the clubs.
Besides the battle for the top spot in the conference, the game was also Darien’s Senior Day. And those seniors a year earlier watched the Cardinals upset them in the second round of the Class LL tournament, making for a playoff-like atmosphere.
“We take it as a playoff game,” Tarantino said. “Every game we play the same — to win. The kids are as hurt now as if we just lost the FCIAC championship, that’s the way we play.”
Going into the FCIAC tournament Scott said the seed means nothing with the league’s quality and depth, but winning a game like Monday’s bodes well for the tight contests sure to follow.
“Even if we didn’t win this one it would have been, ‘Hey this is what it would have taken to win,’ ” Scott said. “You see how close these playoff atmosphere games are and in that FCIAC tournament anything can happen; it’s going to be an exciting tournament no matter what happens.”
DARIEN 1, GREENWICH 0
GREENWICH 000 000 0 — 0 9 1
DARIEN 010 000 X — 1 2 0
Records: Greenwich 12-6, 11-4 FCIAC; Darien 17-2, 13-2.
Batteries: G—Connor Langan (5, L), John Adimari and Marco Pastore; D—Andrew Winsch (5, W), Rich Brereton (S) and Sean O’Malley.
Highlights: G— Langan struck out four. D—Sean O’Malley hit a solo-homer in the second and threw out a Greenwich baserunner to end the game.