DARIEN - Darien-New Canaan starting pitcher Cam Smith fell victim to a bit of bad luck as he was closing in on a complete game Wednesday afternoon at Darien High School, an eventual 4-3 win over Wilton for the co-op junior legion team.
With his team protecting a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh and runners on first and second with two outs, Smith got Wilton's Jimmy Colihan to hit what looked to be a deep fly out to right-centerfield. However, the ball eluded the Darien-New Canaan outfield, which did not appear to realize how far the ball had been hit. As a result, Colihan was credited with a game-tying double as Jackson Marvin scored on the play, and Smith was removed with runners on second and third.
"I pitched how I wanted to for the most part. Our guys were able to get their bats on the ball throughout the game and we made some good plays in the field," Smith said. "I'm pretty happy with the way we played even though we were short a lot of people."
Darien-New Canaan (7-7) was picked up by relief pitcher Drew Dirvin. After issuing a leadoff walk to load the bases, Dirvin got Wilton (5-9) cleanup hitter Jack Segenthaler to pop out weakly to shortstop, allowing his team to enter the bottom of the seventh with the game still tied at 3-3.
Seemingly unfazed by his misfortune in the top of the inning, Smith led off the bottom of the seventh with a sharply hit infield single by beating the throw from shortstop. After stealing second base on the very next pitch, Smith advanced to third base with one out on Dirvin's second sacrifice bunt of the game.
Next up, Brendan Cronin sent Darien-New Canaan home with a sharply hit walk-off infield single. The ball took a high bounce on Wilton's third baseman, allowing Smith to score without a throw.
"They did things a little bit better than us in terms of getting runners on base and moving them over. We had some big spots when guys didn't jump on that first pitch early in the game," Wilton coach Vinny Carlucci said. "(Wilton starting pitcher Jason Rothstein) did a great job tonight. He stepped up in his first start and threw really well."
At no point did either team lead by more than a run or score more than one run in an inning. Darien-New Canaan's ability to play small ball in a tight game was not lost on coach Mike Patrona.
"(Small ball) is the way we have to play because we don't have too many big thumpers. We've only had two or three extra base hits this year, so we've got to do what we can to manufacture runs," Patrona said. "We're a really quick team so we do a lot of stealing. When you advance runners, good things happen. These guys are really starting to understand the game."
Smith tossed six and two thirds innings of three-run ball, striking out seven while allowing only five hits and three free passes. Dirvin was credited with the win in relief.
Wilton got on the board in the top of the first when J.T. Morin notched an RBI single to plate Colihan. Darien-New Canaan tied the game on an RBI single by Liam Naughton in the bottom of the second before taking its first lead on an RBI sacrifice fly by Brendan Cronin which scored Kevin Love in the third for a 2-1 lead.
Wilton pulled even at 2-2 on a sacrifice fly by Colihan that scored Trevor Blond, and Darien-New Canaan took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Bobby Fitzpatrick's RBI single scored Cronin, who led off the inning by getting hit with a pitch.
Jason Rothstein went the distance on the hill for Wilton, hurling seven innings of four-run ball while giving up 10 hits, striking out one, walking four and plunking one.
DARIEN-NEW CANAAN 4, WILTON 3
WILTON 100 010 1--3 5 0
DARIEN-NEW CANAAN 011 001 1--4 10 3
Records: Wilton 4-9; Darien 7-7.
Batteries: W--Jason Rothstein (L) and Tommy McCabe; D-NC--Cam Smith, Drew Dirvin (W) and Kevin Love.
Doubles: W--Jimmy Colihan.