Softball: Darien defeats Trumbull in Class LL
Darien High pitcher Sophie Barbour couldn’t count on it only being a matter of time until her teammates would break through against Trumbull High ace Ally Szabo when the FCIAC softball rivals met in a Class LL first-round game in Trumbull on Tuesday.
A right-handed junior, Barbour limited the Eagles to a pair of hits and an unearned run, and that was enough to allow the 23rd-seeded Blue Wave to upend the 10th-seeded Eagles 4-1 in Trumbull on Tuesday.
“Sophie did an outstanding job, two hits, one hit batsmen,” Darien head coach Nick DeMaio said after his team advanced to play at No. 7 Bristol Eastern (16-5) at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. “She got ahead of hitters, her drop was working. That was what you saw, the evidence of that was those twelve ground balls that went for outs.”
Darien brought an 11-9 record into its third straight meeting with Trumbull (regular season, FCIACs, states). Trumbull was 14-6.
“Darien, their defense didn’t give us anything today,” Trumbull head coach Jacqui Sheftz said. “They made the plays, two hits isn’t going to win you many ballgames.”
Trumbull took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning.
Erica Fluskey reached second on a two-base throwing error to open the frame. She went to third on a wild pitch, but seemed destined to stay there when Barbour enticed a pair of comebackers to the circle.
Szabo then drove a single into right field to give Trumbull the lead.
Darien had stranded two runners in the second inning, three in the third, another in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
“She’s a quality pitcher,” DeMaio said the right-handed Szabo. “She’s one of the best pitchers in the league. She doesn’t give in and you’re not going to get a lot off of her. In the early parts of the game, she didn’t let us have any of those runs. Finally, we were able to punch a couple across there. That’s a credit to her.”
Hailey King opened the sixth with a double up the gap in left-center field for Darien’s eighth hit. She had also doubled to lead off the fourth, but was stranded at third.
This time the Blue Wave kept the pressure on the Eagles.
When Lexi LoPiano ground out to Taylor Brown at shortstop, King beat the relay back across the diamond from first base and was safe at third. Stefani Gentile plated King when her infield chopper was thrown wide of first.
Caroline Krueger then came off the bench and hit a ball up the middle that drew a short throw to first and Darien had a 2-1 lead.
Trumbull had the tying run on second in the bottom of the sixth when Lauren Zielinski doubled, but an infield pop up to Kristen Picard at first and a grounder to Cassidy Schiff at shortstop ended the threat.
Schiff singled and Cassie LoPiano walked to start the seventh off relief pitcher Marisa Valenti, who had come on in the sixth inning to leave two runners aboard.
A one-out wild pitch advanced the runners, and Schiff scored on Lexi LoPiano’s deflected RBI grounder to short. Gentile singled home Cassie LoPiano.