After struggling to generate hits and score runs during the first three games of the season, the Greenwich High School softball team was significantly better offensively against Darien on Friday. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Blue Wave packed plenty of power at the plate on this day.
Scoring four runs in the first inning, then adding five runs in the second was a sign of things to come from Darien, which extended its winning streak to three games with a decisive 17-5 win over Greenwich on a chilly, rainy day at Bruce Park.
The Blue Wave strung hits together, aggressively ran the bases and made solid plays in the field throughout on their way to defeating their FCIAC foe.
“We swung the bat real well, I’m very pleased with how we swung the bats,” Darien coach Nick DeMaio said. “We were aggressive and it paid off.”
Freshman right-hander Molin Medeiros earned the win on the mound and produced three hits to help pace the Blue Wave.
“The conditions were difficult to play in,” DeMaio said. “It’s difficult to grip the ball when it is this cold and wet. We were trying to keep the balls dry for her. Molin is a freshman and she’s done an outstanding job so far this season. She’s pitched three complete games and has been impressive.”
While Darien upped its record to 3-1, Greenwich fell to 0-4 on the season. The Cardinals did extract some positive signs from the game though. Greenwich managed to score only one run over its first three games, while registering just a handful of hits. Friday, the bats came alive for the Cardinals, as almost every player in the lineup made solid contact at the plate.
“Over the past three games, we’ve been striking out a few times, but today a lot of people were swinging the bats and were more aggressive in the box and that’s what we like to see,” Cardinals senior catcher Olivia McClammy said. “They have been working on that in practice and they applied it today.”
Added Greenwich coach Mary Beth Fratello: “Today’s the best that we swung the bats. It was much better than our first three games, when I think we had four hits and Olivia had three. We started putting the ball in play.”
Darien’s first five batters of the opening inning reached base off Cardinals senior pitcher Kayla Darling. Katherine Lindell walked, Brooke Romano singled, Madeline Conte drew a walk, Livie Punishill singled and Sofia Schimmeck had a single to start Darien’s highly productive first inning. Lindell, Romano, Conte and Punishill each scored runs in the opening inning for Darien, which jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
“Maddie Conte, Livie and Katherine have really done a great job of leading our lineup,” DeMaio said.
The Cardinals responded with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Freshman Kate Friedman singled, McClammy reached on an outfield error and senior Chloe Smith, who plays first base, delivered a two-run double, cutting Darien’s lead to 4-2. Capitalizing on two Greenwich errors, the Blue Wave plated five more runs in the second inning. Conte, who plays first base, singled in the big inning, which saw Darien go ahead, 9-2, as did Schimmeck, Medeiros and shortstop Ava Faugno.
After the Blue Wave added an unearned run in the third inning – outfielder Melanie Vernal scored the run – McClammy, a catcher, smashed a home run to deep right center field for the Cardinals’ third run of the game. There is no fence at Bruce Park’s softball field, so McClammy had to hustle around the bases, as Darien tried to throw her out at the plate.
Darling held the Blue Wave scoreless in the fourth and fifth inning, but Darien’s potent lineup clicked once again in the sixth and seventh inning. Two errors aided Darien’s cause in the sixth inning, which saw Lindell hit a three-run triple and Romano drive home a run with a single. In the seventh inning, the Blue Wave added three more runs.
“We need to still work on our hitting and we have to go over some defensive things,” Fratello said. “We made a lot of errors today, so we have to go back to basics tomorrow.”
Greenwich’s final two runs came in the seventh inning, as McClammy singled and scored on a Smith double. Outfielder Madison Murphy drove Smith in with a single. Up next for the Cardinals is a home game against Harding on Monday at 4:30 p.m.
“The energy was up today and that’s what we’re going to bring into Monday’s game,” McClammy said. “The season has started off rough, but we played Stamford, Ludlowe and Staples, three of the top teams in the FCIAC in our first three games.”
Darien hosts FCIAC rival Westhill on Monday.
“We’ve won three in a row, so we’ve got our legs under us,” DeMaio said. “Hopefully, we can continue playing this way. The girls have a good work ethic and intensity right now.”