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Thursday, October 18 High School Sports

BASEBALL: MacDonald tosses gem, Westhill beats Darien

STAMFORD—Westhill pitcher John MacDonald was determined to do whatever he had to against Darien trying to snap the Vikings’ 4-game losing streak.

MacDonald battled through 6 2/3 innings before hitting the pitch limit and coming off the mound.

Darien would not go quietly, scoring three times after MacDonald left, two of the runs being charged to him, but the rally would fall short.

With the tying run at third and the potential go-ahead run on second, reliever Leo Socci struck out the final batter looking, giving Westhill a 4-3 victory over the Blue Wave.

The win qualifies Westhill (8-9, 6-8 FCIAC) for the Class LL tournament and keeps its thin chances of making the FCIAC playoffs alive.

“(MacDonald) said he would do whatever it took to get us a win today and get us into in the postseason. It was important for him to come out and dominate for us,” Westhill coach DJ Mulvany said. “The four run we got were pretty good. We had some chances but their defense made some good plays.”

Westhill scored four times in the bottom of the second with Sam Spingola and Noah Skaug singling home one run each and Zac Feinstein ripping a two-out single, driving in two more.

Westhill would have runner cut down at home plate in the fourth on a throw from leftfielder Max Gasvoda and relay by third baseman Mac McLean.

Darien’s bet chance off MacDonald came in third when it loaded the bases for the heart of it order but MacDonald got the No. 3 and 4 hitters, escaping the jam.

Darien put two on with two out against MacDonald in the seventh before he had to leave the game.

Sean O’Malley then singled to right off Socci, scoring Fin Batson; Arthur Xanthos singled home Justin Jordan and McLean drove in pinch runner Glen Fay, making it 4-3 and leaving runners at second and third.

“I couldn’t be prouder of how we responded in the last inning,” Darien coach Mike Scott said. “Down to our last outs and we found a way to string some hits together against two good pitchers. To just have a chance at the end says a lot about these guys.”

LONG ROAD BACK

Socci, a junior, missed his entire sophomore season after Tommy John surgery and Friday was his first time back on the mound since having the procedure.

“That was awesome seeing Leo back out there,” MacDonald said. “For him to go through all of the work he has the past year and to come back throwing smoke was amazing. It almost brought a tear to my eye.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

John MacDonald, Westhill. Pitching on senior day, MacDonald held Darien to six hits, striking out seven.

Sericson@stamfordadvocate.com; @EricsonSports

WESTHILL 4, DARIEN 3

DARIEN 000 000 3—3 9 2

WESTHILL 040 000 X-4 8 0

Records: D—13-5, 10-4 FCIAC; W--8-9, 6-8 FCIAC

Batteries: D—Justin Van de Graaf (L), Jackson Vaught (6) and Arthur Xanthos’ W—John MacDonald (W), Leo Socci (7) and Alex Cordone

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