She rarely walks a batter, strikes out an average of two hitters per inning and yields just a few hits each game. Indeed, facing Darien's hard-throwing right-hander Erika Osherow wasn't much fun.Monday, as Greenwich became the latest team to be silenced by the shutout specialist.
Exhibiting pin-point control, Osherow pitched a five-hitter with 15 strikeouts in the Blue Wave's 6-0 victory over host Greenwich in an FCIAC matchup. Osherow helped her own cause, going 3 for 4 with a two-run double. The first nine outs Darien's ace recorded came by strikeout.
"That's a typical Erika game, a lot of strikeouts," Darien coach Nick DeMaio said. "The other team may occasionally challenge, but she usually gets 13, 14 15 strikeouts a game. As long as we play defense behind her, she'll usually pitch a shutout."
Junior second baseman Kelly Vodola went 2 for 3 with two triples and drove in three runs for the Blue Wave, who improved to 11-1. Cardinals senior pitcher Jessie Schelz went the distance, striking out four in the loss.
After Osherow (8-1 with six shutouts) struck out the side in the second inning, the Blue Wave scored two runs in the third inning. Center fielder Kelly Reyes singled up the middle and Vodola tripled to right field, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead. No. 3 hitter Julia Domiziano's single to left field scored Reyes, putting Darien on top, 2-0.
That was more than enough for Osherow. Greenwich outfielder Jenn Ambrogio reached first on a bunt single in the third inning and stole second. In the fifth inning, Cate Decker and Ambrogio had singles, but the Cardinals failed to score each time. Greenwich's other chance came when Colleen Bennett and Ferguson singled in the first inning.
"She is definitely the most competitive pitcher we've faced all season," Cardinals shortstop Rebecca DeCarlo said. "She throws a lot of heat, so you have to be quick with your bat at the plate and we didn't do that today. We didn't capitalize when we had men on base. It's a tough loss, but we have to put it behind us and focus on our game against Fairfield Ludlowe on Wednesday."
The Blue Wave took a 3-0 advantage when Vodola tripled in Osherow in the fifth inning, then added three runs in the sixth inning.
"Whenever I'm at-bat in those situations I'm excited, but I try not to think about how many outs there are," Vodola said. "I just want to try my best to hit the ball hard."
Christina Chariott delivered an RBI single and Osherow hit a two-run double, making it 6-0 in the sixth inning. When the Cardinals did make solid contact against Osherow, the Blue Wave made the plays in the field.
"Greenwich always comes out strong, so we knew from the beginning that everyone was going to have to play great defense," Osherow said. "Our defense was on spot today, which was great."
Said DeMaio: "Erika is a fierce competitor, who doesn't back down. She's the best of the lot out there and when you give her some room, she smells the finish line."
Darien 6, Greenwich 0
DARIEN 002 013 0 -- 6 10 0
GREENWICH 000 000 0 -- 0 5 1
Records: Darien 11-1; Greenwich 9-3.
Batteries: D -- Erika Osherow (WP, 8-1) and Rebecca DeMaio. G -- Jessie Schelz (LP) and Erin Ferguson. Doubles: D -- Osherow. Triples: D -- Kelly Vodola.