The season may be winding down and the district portion of its schedule completed. But the Darien 15U Babe Ruth baseball team still came with its best stuff Tuesday, leading to a 7-2 victory over the BVSA Fury, a 15U travel team from the Bobby Valentine Sports Academy. New Canaan native and Fury center fielder Justin Stemmerman recorded both of his team's RBIs from the No. 8 spot in the order.
His counterpart, Darien center fielder Mark Schmidt, tallied a game-high three hits and scored twice, including once during a four-run bottom of the sixth. Three late Fury errors allowed the Blue Hawks to sizably extend their 3-2 lead and provide cushion for reliever Matt Andruiness, who earned a save.
Darien will conclude its 2014 campaign tonight back at 5:30 p.m. against the Fury.
"Overall, (it was) just a good game," Blue Hawks coach John Miceli said. "We got down early, we fought back and tied it up. And as I've said to these guys all year, if we pitch and play defense, we'll be in games, and then it's just continuing to fight offensively ¦ they made some errors and we took advantage."
Following a Chris Vernal strikeout that opened the sixth, Darien catcher Cord Fox reached and advanced to second on an overthrow from Fury third baseman Joe Prisco. Fox then came around to score on a Schmidt single, as he was allotted extra time by a momentary bobble in left field. Another error put shortstop Chris Davey aboard, when Darien sandwiched a base hit and a walk around a run-scoring groundout.
Second baseman Henry Adiletta, who later made a spectacular sliding grab in the seventh, next brought home the final run of the game with a two-out RBI single.
"It was a close game. Both sides played really well, and both sides hit the ball really well," Fury coach Mike Parisi said. "In onne inning the floodgates opened a little bit, and at this age, the game goes really fast sometimes."
Andruiness returned to the rubber and promptly sat down three of four Fury hitters to polish off a near-perfect relief effort. One frame earlier, he escaped a two-on, nobody out jam by retiring three straight hitters, before he stepped to the plate and knocked in first baseman Harrison Kadish via a two-out single to third. Andruiness' clutch hit broke a then 2-2 tie set up by early Fury offense.
Prisco and New Canaan's Pat Diamond jump started the game by taking advantage of some initial rust from starter Arthur Xanthos and stroking base hits to the outfield with one out. Racing for home on a hard grounder to third in the next at-bat, Diamond was cut down on a perfect throw from Vernal. Though two runners remained and quickly moved into scoring position on an ensuing hit by pitch.
Stemmerman subsequently worked a bases-loaded walk for his first RBI of the day and a 1-0 lead. Two innings later, he scored Prisco on a fielder's choice hit towards second. Backed by a 2-0 edge in the bottom of the fourth, the Fury changed pitchers from starter Chris Bell to Jason Trumpbour. Trumpbour recorded two outs and then surrendered a pair of runs born from four consecutive singles, the first courtesy of Schmidt.
Despite the fact the Blue Hawks hadn't taken the field in nearly a week, Miceli shared that Tuesday showcased arguably the team's best contest of the summer.
"Definitely," Miceli said. "Between this game and our Greenwich game in district, it was definitely one of the top two games."
Parisi, who has also been coaching a young team through a packed summer schedule, shared his aim for this season to be only a piece of a longer development process for Fury players.
"The season's been good. It's been a learning experience. We haven't won a ton of ballgames, but all the kids are learning, and we're going to keep on," he said. "Hopefully next year they continue to learn. It's a long season."
DARIEN 7, FURY 2
Fury 101 000 0--2 6 4
Darien 000 214 X--7 12 0
Batteries: F--Chris Bell, Jason Trumpbour (L) and Blake Warmund; D--Arthur Xanthos (W), Matt Andriuness and Cord Fox. Highlights: F--Centerfielder Justin Stemmerman knocked in both Fury runs. Chris Bell notched four strikeouts over three shutout innings. D--Mark Schmidt recorded a game-high three singles and scored twice. Eight different Blue Hawks recorded a hit.