Warde softball rallies past Darien
DARIEN — Fairfield Warde proved Monday that in sports things can change in an instant.
Down for the entire contest, Warde faced a two-run deficit heading into the top of the seventh before rattling off three to defeat Darien 4-3.
“It’s huge,” Warde coach Gary Quiricone said of the come-from-behind victory. “I told them we’re down two and needed three in the seventh and the team came through, they were ready. They saw the pitcher a few times already and were making good contact throughout the whole game coupled with a few Darien mistakes on defense we were able to capitalize; it’s a huge win for us today to get us above .500.”
The Mustangs (6-5, 4-3 FCIAC) mustered just one run through the first six innings when Kathleen Goodchild ended up on third after a single and a two-base error to start the fifth inning. The next batter, Gabriella Natoli, drove Goodchild in with a single.
After Darien’s Kristen Picard crushed a solo homer over the right-center field wall in the bottom of the sixth, Warde came to the plate needing two runs to keep the game going.
Goodchild reached on a fielder’s choice after Abrianna Natoli lead off the inning with a single. Gabriella Natoli would then follow with a walk and Sophia Sancho singled in Goodchild to cut the deficit to one.
Gabriella Natoli tied the game during the next at bat when she scored on a wild pitch. Two batters later Sancho scored when Darien third baseman Jess Carlo couldn’t handle a hot-shot hit at her by Fairfield’s Kane.
“Give them credit,” Darien coach Nick DeMaio said. “They never quit; they battled and battled and they deserve to win the game.”
Vadas, a freshman, pitched four innings in relief for the Mustangs, earning the win and striking out five batters while allowing just one run.
“She did a great job in relief,” Quiricone said. “She kept them off balance, especially the last batter who had been hitting the ball all over the place on us previous to that, she shut her down and it’s a great job from her coming in that position in the later innings and shutting them down.”
In its five wins, the Darien offense has averaged almost 12 runs per game, and DeMaio wants his team to figure out how to win the close ones — starting with defense.
“Our offense is such, that normally the defense can relax because they have a six-, seven-, eight-run lead” Demaio said. “And today we didn’t have that and maybe they tightened up.”
For Warde, Quiricone hopes this win will be a turning point in the season.
“It’s huge confidence for the entire team,” the coach said. “We’re a young team, we had some growing pains early on, but we matured today for sure and we’re ready for the FCIAC the last half of the season.”
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Records: Fairfield Warde 6-5, 4-3 FCIAC; Darien 5-3, 5-2. Batteries: FW Gabriella Natoli (3), Olivia Vadas (4, W) and Kathleen Goodchild; D—Sophoa Barbour (7, L) and Brittany Pierce. Highlights: FW—Sophia Sancho hit an RBI single and eventually scored the winning run in the seventh, Olivia Vadas pitched four innings in relief, picking up the win and striking out five while giving up one run. D—Sophia Barbour pitched all seven innings for the Wave and went 3-4 at the plate with a double and a run scored. Kristen Picard hit a solo homer in the sixth.