Lopiano’s emotional home run sparks Darien softball past Danbury
DARIEN — As Darien senior left fielder Cassie Lopiano was rounding third following her second-inning home run, her eyes were filling with tears.
The home run meant much more to Lopiano than the three runs it produced.
After the game, Lopiano said she hit her first career varsity home run for her father, who is in a physical rehabilitation facility after a catastrophic back injury snowboarding this past winter left him paralyzed.
“I have been going through a lot of stuff with my family and that home run was really for my dad,” Lopiano said. “It will make him really happy. I was crying as I was running and … it was just a lot. It was very important for me.”
Lopiano’s shot to right-centerfield not only lifted her family’s spirits, it gave Darien the lead and got the offense rolling.
The Blue Wave fed off Lopiano’s heroics, defeating Danbury 14-2 in five innings Tuesday afternoon in the season-opening game for both teams.
Eight of nine starters for Darien crossed the plate scoring runs in the win.
Lopiano, the No. 7 hitter, finished with the homer and a single, driving in five runs.
“For Cassie to do that was special,” Darien coach Nick DeMaio said. “Her dad was in a bad accident and he’s going through a tough time and the family is going through a tough time and I know it’s emotional for her. When she was rounding third she had tears in her eyes. I am happy for her.”
Danbury took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, scoring unearned runs on a walk, throwing error and a wild pitch.
Darien rallied for five in the bottom of the second, with Lopiano’s home run putting the first three runs on the board.
The Blue Wave would add three in the third, four in the fourth and two more in the fifth, ending the game early on a 12-run mercy rule.
Danbury coach Shawn O’Brien said the depth of Darien’s lineup is tough to deal with.
“Darien is going to be one of the better hitting teams in the league,” O’Brien said. “They were a great team last year and lost a couple key components from that team but they look like they are right there again. They just hit and are relentless. I’d be shocked if there are any other teams that can hit like they just did.”
The Blue Wave rang up 13 hits on the way to the big win.
Danbury got just three hits off the tandem of Lexi Lopiano and Barbour in the circle for Darien.
DARIEN 14, DANBURY 2
DANBURY 020 00X X — 2 3 3
DARIEN 053 42X X — 14 13 2
Records: Darien 1-0; Danbury 0-1
Batteries: Darien - Lexi Lopiano (W); Sophia Barbour (3) and Caroline Krueger. Dan - Melissa Jacubowski (L) and Alyana Bellantoni