Softball: Eagles' deluge sinks Blue Wave

The Trumbull High softball team used a five-run sixth-hit fifth inning to upend visiting Darien High, 6-4, on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the FCIAC tournament.

Trailing 3-1 on the strength of a three-run home run from Darien ace Sophia Barbour in the third inning, the fourth-seeded Eagles started the uprising with singles from Briana Giacobbe and Courtney Fairfield.

“I think that our team really held their composure. They definitely didn’t pack it in,” Trumbull head coach Jacqui Sheftz said. “We were able to rally. I thought we had some timely hitting and ran the bases really well… I thought that was well-played softball game on our part.”

Erica Flusky then hit a sharp grounder down the third-base line that was snared by Jess Cario. Pinch runner Kristen Dutertre beat Cario’s flip to the bag to load the bases, before a wild pitch from Barbour made it a 3-2 game.

Barbour then struck out Jill O’Connell for the first out, bringing her counterpart, Szabo, to the plate. The Eagle junior helped herself, grounding a two-run single to center field to drive in the go-ahead run.

“That’s Ally, she doesn’t typically get rattled,” Sheftz said.

But Trumbull (15-6) wasn’t done yet, as Lauren Zielinski, who belted a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning, slapped an opposite-field single to right.

Again Barbour got a key strikeout, this time of Lea Thompson, but Taylor Brown provided a pair of insurance runs with a ground-ball single back through the circle to make it 6-3.

“They hurt us up the middle today,” Darien head coach Nick DeMaio said. “It’s a difficult thing. Not too many of those balls were hard hit. They were just ground balls up the middle.”

Fifth-seeded Darien (11-10) looked to rally in sixth inning, with Kalani Caruso and Barbour notching base hits to start the frame. A liner that Szabo snagged, an infield fly and grounder to third base stranded the runners at first and second, before the Blue Wave mounted a final charge in the top of the seventh.

Cassie LoPiano hammered a solo home run to left-center field to narrow the Darien gap to 6-4, but Szabo struck out Stefani Gentile and Cario looking and got Kristen Picard on hard grounder to first to seal the victory.

Trumbull will face top-seeded St. Joseph (20-1) in the semifinals on Tuesday, May 24, at Sacred Heart University.

Darien will be idle until the state tournament, which begins on May 31.

“Learn what you can learn,” DeMaio said of the early FCIAC ouster. “It’s good experience to be here for the younger kids… It doesn’t help the seniors. We have a lot of juniors, hopefully we get here and do a little more damage next year. It’s our first year not going to the tournament site in a long time but now we have to focus on the state tournament.”