Fairfield Warde capitalized on four errors, a balk, three hit batsmen and four walks in a five-hit effort Thursday to earn a hard-fought 7-5 win over Darien. The Blue Wsave sliced a 6-1 deficit down to 6-4 in the late innings, but couldn't overcome its mistakes and Warde's clutch hitting.
"It's your typical FCIAC battle between two teams that I think will be in the (FCIAC playoffs) this year," Warde coach Mark Caron said. "What I was proud of was every inning they grinded and battled. We didn't let up."
Ahead 1-0 in the third inning, the Mustangs pushed across four runs to blow open the game, while they simultaneously held off Darien from rallying at the plate.
Initially, Warde got in the board in the first frame when Michael Foley, who was hit by a pitch leading off, advanced to third on a single by Giacomo Brancato and later came home after Darien pitcher Andrew Nault was called for a balk.
The Blue Wave recorded its first run in the top of the fourth on a Conor Davey RBI single, but Warde returned the favor in the home-half of the inning. Foley blasted a double deep to left and soon after scored on an error to make it 6-1 Mustangs. Foley reached base four times and scored three runs.
Then, with one out in the fifth,. Darien loaded the bases against Warde starting pitcher Reece Maniscalco. Daly Hebert blooped the ball to shallow right and Warde outfielder Luckner made a diving catch. As the out was recorded, Michael Maccarone successfully tagged up from third base to make it 6-2.
His team armed with new life, Wave third baseman George Reed smacked a two-run double to center, which pushed the score 6-4. After Darien's Michael O'Malley reached on an error, Maniscalco worked out of the jam with a strikeout.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Mustangs were afforded a bit of breathing room via two Darien miscues. With two outs in the inning, Brancato scored on a pickoff attempt at second that initially sailed and was quickly coupled with an error in the outfield.
Darien got back to within two in the sixth when Maccarone singled, stole second and scored on a double by Brendan Donohue with one out. Warde reliever Nick Nardone, who had started the inning, escaped further trouble by inducing a pair of ground outs. Neither team would score from that point on.
Scott, although disappointed with the errors, was pleased with his team's determination to fight back. "When we're down a couple of runs, we think we have the offense to come back from that," he said.
The Wave will return to the diamond on Saturday against Norwich Free Academy at Dodd Stadium, the home of the single-A Connecticut Tigers, beginning at noon.