DARIEN — Through four innings, the Darien baseball team had been held to just a pair of singles and was being shutout in its showdown with the Trumbull Eagles.
All it took was a clutch hit to change the momentum.
Senior Mac McLean hit an RBI single through the middle of the infield with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Blue Wave went on to plate four runs defeating Trumbull, 4-1, Wednesday at Darien High School.
All of the runs scored with two outs — Devyn Kipphut had an RBI single and Ben Olson ripped a two-run base hit — as Darien won its third straight game.
“It was just the little spark that James gave us with that double with one out and then Mac came through with a clutch hit,” Scott said. “It takes one clutch hit and it becomes contagious. Mac’s a senior co-captain, he’s been in that spot before, he came through and we were off and running.”
The rally made a winner out of senior pitcher James Louis, who limited the Eagles to one run on three hits and three walks over six innings. Louis also had a double in the fifth inning and scored the first run for Darien (3-2)
“He made his pitches when he had to and keep a good lineup at bay,” Scott said. “Credit the defense behind him as well. We played flawless defense today and that’s what you need to beat a good team like Trumbull.”
Wave ace Henry Williams came in to pitch the seventh and retired the side in order, striking out the final two batters to earn a save.
“James was awesome,” Williams said. His location was a little bit off today but he got some big outs when he needed to. He’s doing an awesome job, we have faith in him and, as a defense, he trusts us.”
For Trumbull (4-2), the loss was frustrating, as the Eagles hit the ball hard several times only to have the Darien defense make big plays.
“It felt like we swung the bats better than it showed on the scoreboard,” Trumbull head coach Phil Pacelli said. “We hit a lot of balls right at them and they made the plays — you’ve got to give them credit.”
Trumbull starter Ryan Gomes had a solid game on the mound, working five and one-third innings and holding the Wave in check for the first four innings. Four of the six hits and all four runs he allowed came during the fateful fifth.
“He’s our guy and he pitched a great game,” Pacelli said. “It was just that one inning and there was the slow roller there and the next thing you know, it’s 4-1.”
The Eagles broke on top with a run in the top of the third.
With two outs, Louis had some control issues and walked the Eagles’ senior co-captain Kevin Bruggeman, who stole two bases to move to third.
After another walk, Luke Masiuk hit a shot down the third base line. Darien’s third baseman McLean made a nice diving play to knock the ball down, but couldn’t get Masiuk at first as Bruggeman scored for a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Wave struck back with a double to the left field corner from Louis starting things. McLean’s single plated Louis and tied the score, and Williams and Liam McLaughlin drew walks to load the bases.
Kipphut reached on an infield single to shortstop, scoring another run to put Darien up 2-1. McLaughlin just beat Trumbull shortstop Ben Micinilio’s throw to second base to keep the inning going.
Olson then singled in two more runs for the 4-1 lead, which the Wave made stand up for the victory.
“That inning when they scored the four runs, they had a lot of two-out hits and I felt like we were out of the inning with the bang-bang play at second,” Pacelli said. “It went the other way, which is frustrating but that’s baseball.”
“We just strung some hits together,” Williams said. “We had two hits at that point and James got us started with that double down the line. He helped himself out, and Mac and Ben had huge hits.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
James Louis and Henry Williams, Darien. Louis fought through some control issues and allowed just one run on three hits over six innings. Williams was perfect with a 1-2-3 seventh inning and was 2-for-2 with a walk at the plate..
“In practice we focus really hard on our repetitions, getting out here early and taking everything seriously. We know that pitching and defense is our strong suit this year and it helped us win a championship last year. If we continue doing what we can do with defense and pitching, we’ll be all right.” — Darien senior co-captain Henry Williams
DARIEN 4, TRUMBULL 1
TRUMBULL 001 000 0 — 1 3 0
DARIEN 000 040 0 — 4 6 0
Batteries: T – Ryan Gomes, Greg Kauffman (6) and Kevin Bruggeman; D – James Louis (W, 1-0), Henry Williams (7, S) and Ben Olson
Highlights: T – Chris Brown double, Luke Masiuk single, 1 RBI; D – Henry Williams 2-for-2, 1 run; James Louis 2B, 1 run; Ben Olson single, 2 RBIs Records: Trumbull 4-2; Darien 3-2