Darien U12 wins FCFSL tourney
The Darien Tidal Wave defeated the Newtown Hawks, 7-3, to win the Fairfield County Fastpitch Softball League Tournament for 12-year-olds on Sunday in Southbury. The win capped a 5-0 run through the tourney for Darien, including a 9-8, come-from-behind extra-inning victory over the Fairfield Light 97s to reach the title game.
In the championship, Avery Maley tripled and scored the go-ahead run on Jordan Smith's double in the sixth inning to put Darien ahead for good. Earlier on Sunday, in the semifinals, Kelly Vodola knocked in the tying run and Avery Maley drove in the game-winner in the eighth inning to propel Darien into the finals. Mary Brown pitched back-to-back complete game wins for Darien.
Timely blasts and a couple of key bunts made a big difference in the championship game.
With the score knotted at 3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Darien broke through for four runs. Avery Maley led off with a laser to right-center for a triple. Keli Reyes and Mary Brown followed with bunts, and each time, Newtown chose to hold Maley at third rather than make a play on the batter and risk the tying run coming home. This loaded the bases. One out later, Jordan Smith drove in Maley and Reyes with the go-ahead runs on a line-drive double to center.
Lauren Cicero and Kelly Vodola tacked on two more runs with RBI singles to left field, pushing the Darien lead to 7-3. Cicero went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. Vodola went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI.
In the top of the seventh, Darien held off a Newtown rally. With one out, Lexi Lopiano scooped up a grounder in right field, threw quickly to first, and turned what looked like a sure hit into an out. Two singles followed, putting runners on first and second for Newtown. The rally ended quickly when Reyes snared a fly ball in center to end the game.
In the early innings, Darien had to battle from behind. Trailing 1-0 in the second, the Tidal Wave used small ball to even the score. Reyes was hit by a pitch, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch, then scored on a ground out by Lopiano. Down 3-1 in the third, Vodola singled, stole second and third, and scored on Tyson Maley's grounder. Two innings later, trailing by one, Smith walked, went to second on Christina Chariott's sacrifice bunt, and scored the tying run on Cicero's RBI single.
The score remained tied until the sixth, when Darien had its four-run rally.
Brown pitched all seven innings to close out the win, which followed her eight-inning extra-inning win over Fairfield Light 97s earlier in the day.
Key defensive plays made a big difference in both games. Jessie Halstrom's catch in left field kept Newtown off the board in the first inning of the title game. And in the semifinal, Reyes and Maley teamed up to erase a runner at home trying to score on a sacrifice fly in the third. Reyes swooped in for the catch in center, threw a one-hopper to Avery Maley, who caught the ball and made the tag at the plate.
On its way to the championship, Darien won all three of its games on Saturday, defeating the Monroe Mustangs (14-1), the Bethel Blast (6-1) and the Southbury Heat (8-7).