Big inning powers Darien past Staples
By the time the bottom of the second inning was over, more than 20 minutes had elapsed, 17 batters had come to the plate and a sport utility vehicle parked beyond the left field fence was in need of a little repair work.
Junior Brittany Osborn's majestic three-run home highlighted an inning for the ages Wednesday afternoon as the Darien softball team got all of its offense in that one frame en route to a 12-0 mercy-rule victory over visiting Staples.
The Blue Wave (8-2), the defending FCIAC champs, extended their winning streak to five games and have scored 12 runs in each of their last three wins -- all coming by the 10-run mercy rule.
Darien finished with 13 hits against the Wreckers (4-6), nine of them coming in the huge second-inning uprising.
"Hitting is contagious," said senior Jessica DeMaio, who combined with freshman Erika Osherow on a one-hitter while collecting four RBI on the day -- including a bases-clearing double to make it 4-0.
"That inning was a lot of fun. We had a game (Tuesday) so it was nice to get some rest with Danbury coming up on Friday. That loss to Westhill was definitely a motivation for us, and I think we've raised our level of play these last five games."
Osherow -- Darien's starting shortstop, hard-throwing righty and leadoff hitter -- walked three times, singled, drove in a run and struck out three in her two innings of work in the circle.
The hard-hitting Blue Wave routinely ripped the ball, with Emma Hamilton and Courtney Bell lacing RBI doubles before Osborn dented a Toyota with a home run to left that cleared the scoreboard.
"I turned my hips and just got all of it," Osborn said of her first homer of the season. "We were just feeding off each other that inning. It was energy and momentum, and it was incredible to see it all come together in the second."
Staples' best chance to score came in the first inning following a single by starting pitcher Nikki Bukovsky, but DeMaio would bear down with Bukovsky on third -- getting one of her three strikeouts to end the threat.
The Wreckers kept it scoreless in the bottom half of the inning, as center fielder Charlotte Axthelm gunned down Osherow at third for the first out before Bukovsky induced two groundouts with the bases loaded.
In the second inning, however, the Wreckers would not be so fortunate.
"We've been having those inning blues where we get rocked," Staples coach Sara Holland said. "It's usually been the first inning, but today it was the second. They have a really strong lineup, and that was like the never-ending inning. We just have to find a way to be more mentally tough and get out of those type of innings."