Unfinished business can be a dangerous thing.
Fueled by its upset loss in the conference final one year ago, the St. Joseph softball team stormed the FCIAC this season all the way to a dominant 12-1 title win over Darien at Sacred Heart University on Thursday, May 29.
The Cadets (22-1) battered the Blue Wave with an eight-run fourth inning, sparked on by a Lauren Pitney RBI triple and four consecutive run-scoring singles.
Darien (20-3) suffered its largest loss of the season, one year following another 11-run defeat to St. Joseph in the FCIAC semifinals.
"We were here last year, and we felt this was unfinished business," Cadets coach Jeff Babineau said. "And we lost one game this year. We lost to (Darien) 1-0 & so today I think was a bit of redemption."
Blue Wave starter Erika Osherow no-hit St. Joseph over the first three innings, before allowing 10 hits in her next and final frame. The Cadets scored the game's first run on their fourth base hit of the inning, before catcher Lauren Blose lifted a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, after Hanna Errico was caught in a rundown, Pitney crushed her triple to center to double St. Joseph's edge.
The junior shortstop later attributed her team's success at the plate to quality preparation, which helped every Cadet hitter in the starting line-up reach base.
"She's around the zone and she's a very good pitcher. But we worked on her," Pitney said of Osherow. "We studied her, and we hit the ball well today."
Noting both Osherow's body language and her three walks allowed in the first two innings, Darien coach Nick DeMaio disagreed with the level of effect St. Joseph's gameplan had on the game's outcome.
"I think they could've studied her all they wanted," Darien coach Nick DeMaio said. "I think what it amounted to was & she felt she didn't have her best stuff."
Osherow eventually gave way to reliever Sophie Barbour, who entered in the bottom of the fifth and promptly surrendered two runs for a 10-0 Cadets lead. Blue Wave sophomore Lexli LaPiano stepped in the circle for the home half of the sixth, only to allow another pair of runs to come across on a Pitney double.
One half-inning earlier, Darien opened the frame with consecutive singles from Osherow and Kristen Picard. But Williams would settle down, inducing three straight groundouts that ended the threat, while also yielding the only Blue Wave run of the day.
The St. Joseph ace then polished off her complete game effort with a game-ending strikeout of Avery Maley in the seventh.
"She was on this stage last year and it was tough," Babineau said of his starting pitcher. "She grew up a lot over the last year and she's improved tremendously." Read Full Article
St. Joseph 12, Darien 1
DARIEN000 001 0--1 4 0
ST. JOSEPH000 822 X--12 14 0
Records: Darien 20-3; St. Joseph 22-1. Batteries: D--Erika Osherow (L), Sophie Barbour (5), Lexi LoPiano (6) and Rebecca DeMaio; SJ--Nicole Williams (W) and Lauren Blose.
Highlights: D--Julia Domiziano went 1-3 with an RBI. SJ-- Lauren Pitney hit a run-scoring double and triple, as parts of her 5-RBI afternoon. Nicole Williams threw a complete gave, surrendering only four hits and one run. Every Cadet in the starting line-up reached base at least once.