New Fairfield baseball rallies to top Darien
DARIEN — The New Fairfield High School baseball team spent the entire preseason working in the gym due to the miserable March weather.
The Rebels finally stepped foot on a real baseball diamond for the first time Wednesday. They made the most of their nearly three hours at the Darien High artificial turf baseball complex as they rallied for a 7-5 non-league triumph.
“Even though it was our first time on a baseball field, we were ready to go,” New Fairfield coach Joe Garbowski said. “We played like we had all been indoors long enough.”
New Fairfield handed defending FCIAC champion Darien (1-1) its first loss of the 2017 season by pushing across four runs in the top of the seventh.
“I tip my cap to New Fairfield. Their guys put together so many good at-bats in the seventh inning,” said Darien coach Mike Scott. “Anything can happen in high school baseball especially early in the season. We let them hang around and they took advantage.”
Darien — which opened its season last Sunday with a 5-1 triumph at Fitch High in Groton — hurt its cause by making four errors.
Two miscues led to a pair of Rebels’ runs in the third inning to forge a 2-2 deadlock.
A wild pitch was instrumental in New Fairfield scoring a run in the top of the fourth.
But it was a wide throw in the infield that set the stage for New Fairfield (1-0) to bat around in the top of the seventh and grab a 7-4 edge.
With two men on and one out with Darien still ahead 4-3, New Fairfield senior Brian Magee had the key at-bat of the contest.
Magee worked the count from 0-and-2 to 3-and-2 while fouling out six pitches in the process. Magee then lined a two-run double to right-center for a 5-4 Rebels edge.
“Jackson Lathrop (who reached on an error) had a great at-bat in front of me. I saw that the pitcher was relying on his fastball and not throwing any breaking balls,” Magee said. “I just focused on taking the pitch to the opposite field and I did.”
Sean King added an RBI single and Matt Palardy contributed an RBI groundout for a 7-4 New Fairfield lead.
New Fairfield junior righthander Vincenzo DiMaggio took the mound in the fifth and hurled three innings for the win. He finished despite taking a liner off his foot for the second out in the bottom of the 7th and allowing Chris Davey’s RBI single for the 7-5 final.
“DiMaggio was so poised on the mound,” New Fairfield coach Garbowski said. “We tried to keep guys on pitch counts. But DiMaggio was doing well so we let him finish.”
This is becoming a good early-season rivalry matchup between Darien and New Fairfield, which helps both schools in the state tournament rankings. Darien won 2-1 in 2016.
“We have a lot of young guys so to open the season beating the defending FCIAC champion is huge for us,” Magee said. “It shows we’re capable of great things going forward.”
NEW FAIRFIELD 7, DARIEN 5
NEW FAIRFIELD 002 100 4—7 9 0
DARIEN 110 200 1—5 8 4
Records: New Fairfield 1-0; Darien 1-1.
Batteries: NF—Jack Ware, Rob Zurzola (3), Vincenzo DiMaggio (5, W, 1-0) and Michael O’Connor. D—Justin Van de Graaf, Jackson Vaught (4), Justin Jordan (7, L), Sam Hickey (7) and Sean O’Malley.
Highlights: NF—Brian Magee 2 hits, 2-run double in 7th; Sean King, Ryan Seaman 2 hits each. D—Peter Marren 2-run single.