Westhill outlasts Darien in early-season showdown
There were home runs, lead changes and a seemingly bottomless supply of momentum swings.
Guess you could say the early season FCIAC softball showdown between perennial contender Westhill and defending champion Darien was everything it was supposed to be.
Trailing by one run in the bottom of the fifth, the Vikings scored twice before standout senior pitcher Allison Macari slammed the door over the final two innings as Westhill held on for a 5-4 victory at Allyson Rioux Field in Stamford Friday afternoon.
The Vikings (4-1, 4-0 FCIAC) finished with seven hits, including a game-tying RBI single by the red-hot Tammy Wise off hard-tossing freshman Erika Osherow, who came in relief of Jessica DeMaio with one out in the fifth. Macari then reached on an error -- the only one of the game for the Blue Wave (3-2, 3-1) -- allowing Cassandra Kish to cross the plate with the eventual game-winning run.
"This was a big win for us and the team really picked me up," said Macari, who gave up a two-run single to Darien cleanup hitter Courtney Bell in the first and solo homers to Osherow and Olivia Gozdz in the fifth.
Despite the setback, there were a number of positives for the Blue Wave to take away.
They finished with eight hits against one of the state's best pitchers, and made several sparkling plays in the field -- namely a relay throw from Osherow to Bell to cut down Kish at third, and a perfect throw from Kelly Fahey in center field to gun down Wise at the plate for the final out in the fifth.
"The goal of both of these teams is to make the playoffs and we'd love to see them again," Darien coach Nick DeMaio said. "That's a good team and your have to give them credit. They didn't let up."
Westhill coach Tom Pia fully expects his team to see the Blue Wave again.
Until them, he'll gladly take this win which was highlighted by a three-run first inning -- couresty of a two-run double by Elizabeth Joseph and an RBI single by Jessica Ruffels -- and a gritty performance by Macari, who worked around three errors and then a hit batsman with out in the seventh before consecutive groundouts to seal the outcome.
"In the seventh inning Allison pitched really well," Pia said. "It was a good and fun game. They're a great team, and the thing I liked is that we didn't quit."