The New Canaan/Darien Summer Legion baseball team (10-10) climbed back to the .500 mark by cruising to an 8-1 win over Westport Wednesday evening at Mead Field.

New Canaan/Darien starting pitcher Jeff Spindell gave his team a quality outing by hurling six innings of one run ball. Spindell gave up three hits, struck out a pair, walked one and plunked a batter along the way to earn the win. Westport was unable to send more than five batters to the plate in any inning, and Spindell induced two twin killings.

Spindell also went 2-for-3 with a walk and a pair of runs scored to help his own cause.

"Good fielding behind me with a lot of ground balls," Spindell said. "We came right out and hit so that was good to have some support right away, knowing that I had a little cushion."

Spindell was also the beneficiary of solid defense by New Canaan/Darien, something which was a focal point for coach John Miceli before each of the team's last two contests.

"All year we've kind of been just showing up and jumping on the field, but yesterday we turned over a new leaf and took some infield and outfield before the game," Miceli said. "We got here a little earlier and did it again today and I think it showed."

New Canaan/Darien wasted no time jumping on Westport starting pitcher Mitchell Gilbertie, as Tom Curruthers and Spindell came up with consecutive singles to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Alex Freeman then hit an RBI double to score Carruthers, and Spindell would go on to score on an RBI groundout by Justin Pryor to make the score 2-0. New Canaan/Darien plated its third run of the inning when Tommy Farren delivered an RBI single to score Freeman.

After a scoreless second, New Canaan/Darien increased its lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the third. First, Dan Hall hit into a fielder's choice in which Westport committed its only error of the game, as Will Preziosi scored from third after leading off the inning with a double. Then Kyle Mangan hit into a fielder's choice which scored Cameron Armstrong from third base to make the score 5-0.

Westport got one back in the top of the fourth on an RBI groundout to shortstop by Alex Ludel that plated James Frusciante, who drew a walk to lead off the inning, but Westport wasn't able to sustain a rally for the rest of the game.

"It's all year. Not only this game but all year it's happened, hitting balls right at guys," Westport coach Wayne Randazzo said. "You hit a ball right at the second baseman, double play. You hit the ball right at somebody else and it's another double play."

Leadoff hitter Ben Greenberg was the only Westport player to register a multi-hit game, as the second baseman went 2-for-4 with a pair of stolen bases.

"It's a tough loss, but as a whole, I think we took a step in the right direction today," Greenberg said. "I feel like we played better in the field. They hit the ball better than us, but it's a step in the right direction."

On the positive side for Westport, the team committed just one error.

"Today we played good defense. We were committing a lot of errors this year," Randazzo said. "They hit the ball where we weren't playing and we were hitting the ball right at people."

New Canaan/Darien closed out the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the fourth as Pryor notched an RBI double and Armstrong drilled an RBI triple and later scored on a wild pitch.

Gilbertie, who was saddled with the loss, gutted out four innings, despite being tagged for eight runs on nine hits. Gilbertie also walked four and struck out one.

Westport relief pitcher Austin Mills fared better in mop-up duty, effectively keeping the potent New Canaan/Darien lineup at bay in his two innings of work. Mills yielded one hit, a pair of walks and struck out one while recording the final six outs for his team.

In the seventh inning, Spindell gave way to reliever Andrew Hurn, who turned in a scoreless inning while allowing a pair of base hits without a strikeout or a walk.

With seven games remaining, New Canaan/Darien needs at least four wins in order to qualify for the playoffs.

"Good stuff. The last two days, we've played really well," Miceli said. "We got two strong outings, we hit the ball and put the game away early."

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