FCIAC-champion Darien eliminated by Amity in Class LL softball
Updated 2:47 pm, Thursday, June 7, 2012
DARIEN -- Pitcher Jess DeMaio, like most people who have followed the Darien High softball team the last seven weeks, figured it would end happily once again Friday in the Class LL quarterfinals against Amity.
Somehow, some way, the Blue Wave would wiggle out of the seventh inning predicament and the magical run would continue.
But all things must pass.
Amity scored three runs in the top of the seventh and then held off a Darien rally to win 4-2 and advance to the Class LL semifinals.
"We've been in so many tight situations before, so I really felt we'd get out of it," DeMaio said. "But they made contact and found some holes. Those things happen."
It wasn't supposed to end this way for the FCIAC champs, who had won 19 of their previous 20 games.
The Blue Wave (22-4), the No. 3 seed, appeared headed to another victory with a 2-1 lead after DeMaio retired the first batter of the seventh inning.
But sixth-seeded Amity (21-5) rallied.
Jenna DiLorenzo's sacrifice fly made it 3-2 and Corina Zdrowski's RBI single provided an insurance run.
When Amity pitcher Dana Blydenburg retired Olivia Gozdz on a hard grounder with two outs after the Blue Wave had loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, the magical run had ended.
"I'm disappointed, but if you asked me at the beginning of the season to sign up for an FCIAC championship and a loss in the state quarterfinals, I'd have signed it," Darien coach Nick DeMaio said.
After Darien had scored twice in the third on a single by Julie Domiziano, the first of two doubles by Brittany Osborn, and a two-run double by DeMaio, the Blue Wave had a 2-0 lead.
Even after the Spartans scored in the fourth on a Ferraiolo triple and an error, the huge crowd on hand figured the Blue Wave would find a way to hang on.
Even after Amity stranded two baserunners in the fifth and two more in the six, it still felt like Darien, and not Amity, would be taking on Westhill in the semifinals.
It didn't play out that way, however.
"We had our opportunities before the seventh but it just didn't happen for us," Amity coach Bob Purcell said. "Then we started hitting. I'm not sure it was a case of (DeMaio) running out of gas, but more us getting good swings."
Darien managed just three hits outside of the third-inning rally, and committed four errors while DeMaio, who had a 0.55 earned run average, allowed eight hits.
"We didn't bring it today," Nick DeMaio said. "You can't take days off when you get to this level. We didn't look loose or confident.
"But we sure had a great run."
Amity 4, Darien 2
AMITY 000 100 3--4 8 0
DARIEN 002 000 0--2 6 4
Records: Amity 21-5, Darien 22-4.
Batteries: A--Dana Blydenburg (W, 16-4) and Julie Luce; D--Jess DeMaio (L, 19-4) and Olivia Gozdz.
Doubles: A--Corina Zdrowski, Catherine Semones; D--Brittany Osborn 2, DeMaio. Triples: A--Jackie Ferraiolo.