Talk about making a good first impression.
Darien junior Stephen Barston tossed six scoreless innings and collected a win in his first career varsity start Monday to help the Blue Wave (3-0, 2-0 FCIAC) shut out Fairfield Ludlowe 5-0 at Darien High School.
Michael Maccarone smacked a two-run single in the second inning with the bases loaded, as part of a four-run frame for Darien. With the shutout victory, the Blue Wave has now outscored its first three opponents 26-1.
"We couldn't have asked for anything more out of (Barston) today," Darien coach Mike Scott said. "He's a pitcher that's going to be crafty. He's going to be around the plate, and he's going to force them into contact. He executed his pitches, had them fishing a little bit and our defense made plays behind him. That was huge."
Falcon reliever Dan Stanco did not allow a run in 5 1/3 innings of work, but his teammates could hardly touch Barston all afternoon. The game finished as the first loss of the season for Fairfield Ludlowe (3-1, 1-1 FCIAC), which now moves on to play league power Trumbull on Wednesday. Wilton recorded the only run allowed by Darien in 2014 during an eventual 8-1 Wave victory on Friday.
"It all starts with the guys on the hill," Darien coach Mike Scott said. "To limit three teams to one run in three games is quite an accomplishment. We've backed them up with defense and the bats have been there."
George Reed opened the scoring in the first inning with an RBI double that scored senior shortstop Bobby Fitzpatrick. Two at-bats prior to Reed's plate appearance, Fitzpatrick had knocked a double of his own to left field. Later, he would hit a sacrifice fly to center for the game's final run.
The Falcons came closest to scoring in the fourth frame, when Mikey Arman and Chris Howell notched back-to-back singles for their team's first hits on the day. Following a misfired throw to first, Arman moved to third base, which put runners on the corners with no outs. However, Barston buckled down to induce a pop fly, a line-out and a ground ball to end the threat.
"I was just trying to get a strikeout to start; a strikeout or a pop fly to make sure they stayed where they were," Barston said. "And then get a ground ball to get a double play and get out of the inning."
Conor Davey took the mound in the top of the seventh inning and skirted around an early walk to finish the game with a soft liner to second. After the final out was recorded, Scott kept the message to his budding team simple.
"Keep improving," he said. "We've got a good squad here, and we think we can make a nice run. We're three games in and we're right where we want to be three games in ... There's lots of baseball left to be played. We still want to keep getting better, and I think these guys are hungry for more."
Darien will return to the diamond Saturday for an away contest at Norwich Free Academy. First pitch is scheduled for noon.
The Blue Wave head back into FCIAC play on Monday at home against Brien McMahon beginning at 4 p.m.
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Darien 5, Fairfield Ludlowe 0
Fairfield Ludlowe 000 000 0--0 3 1
Darien 140 000 X--5 9 2
Records: Darien 3-0, 2-0 FCIAC; Fairfield Ludlowe 3-1, 1-1 FCIAC. Batteries: FL--Max Settineri (L, 0-1), Dan Stanco (2) and Connor Daley; D--Stephen Barston (W, 1-0), Conor Davey (7) and Anthony DiMeglio. Highlights: FL--Dan Stanco allowed four hits and zero runs after entering the game as a reliever in the second inning. D--Stephen Barston threw six scoreless innings to earn a win in his first career varsity start. Michael Maccarone hit a two-RBI single with the bases loaded in the second inning.