Softball: Osherow Cedes Center Stage As Darien Pounds Out 15 Hits In Quarterfinal Win Over Trumbull

DARIEN — It isn’t very often that Erika Osherow gets overshadowed. There are many spectacular skyscrapers architecturally in New York, but you are always drawn first to the Empire State Building.

Osherow has been that for the Blue Wave, first as a freshman shortstop and the last three years as the league’s best pitcher and player.

But on Saturday afternoon, under the league’s new — and poorly thought out — playoff format, Osherow for one of the few times ceded center stage to her teammates. It speaks to her standard of excellence that a three-hitter with seven strikeouts almost seemed pedestrian.

The Blue Wave pounded out 15 hits — five players had at least two — led by Kelly Vodola, while the defense played well and executed one rarely seen display in a surprisingly easy 12-1 rout of Trumbull.

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Softball: Stamford Uses Long Ball To Hold Off Norwalk, Advance To Semifinals

STAMFORD — One big hit changed everything in the FCIAC quarterfinal matchup between the No. 3 Stamford Black Knights and No. 6 Norwalk Bears on Saturday afternoon. After staying with each other all game, Stamford came out on top with a 6-4 victory thanks to junior Maria Zecena.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Black Knights had the bases loaded when Zecena came up at bat. She found her pitch and slammed a single into the outfield that brought home two of her teammates and finally broke the tie score.

“I just needed to get a key hit for my team,” she said.

It was a game of big hits to say the least, starting early on for both teams. After each team scored a run in the first inning, the Black Knights lit up in the second for three home runs from Maddie Santora, Victoria Cuscuna and Lauren O’Neill.

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Baseball: Black Knights Topple New Canaan To Earn First FCIAC Berth Since 2008

STAMFORD — Three months ago the Stamford High School baseball team was shrouded in uncertainty, not even knowing who was going to be its coach.

Five days ago the Black Knights were on the outside looking in at an FCIAC playoff spot, their chances thread-thin.

As dusk fell on Friday to start a holiday weekend, the question mark of March had been pounded, quite literally, into an exclamation point, as Stamford hit two home runs and got a gritty pitching effort from Shawn Urbano in a 9-1 win over New Canaan.

It was like the old days at the Stamford field, a huge crowd spread out all the way down the rightfield line. The Black Knights held a pregame ceremony to honor their seniors, playing at home for the final time.

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Boys Lacrosse: Darien Takes First Step In FCIAC Title Defense With 17-6 Win Over Staples

DARIEN — Title defense is in the works for the Darien boys lacrosse team, as it cruised to a 17-6 victory over Staples in Friday’s FCIAC quarterfinals, led by a five-goal performance from junior Colin Minicus.

After a scoreless eight minutes, the Blue Wave got things going with a goal from junior Christian Trifone. The goal sparked a quick 3-0 lead on the Wreckers to end the first period.

Momentum for Darien continued within seconds of the second period, but Staples answered quickly to cut the lead to 4-1 and remind everyone that it was still in this game.

The Blue Wave continued their hot scoring streak and dominated the possession time for the rest of the half. They headed into halftime with an 8-3 lead after a goal from junior Jack Kniffin.

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FCIAC Boys Lacrosse Playoff Preview: Darien's Burgoyne A Role Model On And Off Field

DARIEN — When Ian Burgoyne took the field on opening day wearing No. 12, many just assumed it was a capricious move by a senior captain with a role that provides greater entitlement.

But there is not a fanciful bone in the Darien star’s body, and while the uniform change has been noticed, few outside the program know the story behind it.

Blue Wave coach Jeff Brameier had retired the number 23 years ago. It was last worn by a player named Wes Barton, who was diagnosed with bone cancer and missed his senior season. Barton still served as a student assistant and, more importantly, role model and inspiration.

Last fall, at the team’s organizational meeting, Brameier announced that No. 12 would become active again, given to a player that best represents Barton’s qualities. Burgoyne would be the first to wear it.

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FCIAC Girls Lacrosse Playoff Preview: Benitez's Play A Microcosm Of Darien's Success

DARIEN — Perhaps no player best symbolizes the continued success of this year’s Darien girls lacrosse team than Caroline Benitez.

A year after losing captains that made up one of the best midfield lines in state history, the Blue Wave have flourished behind an adaptive lineup that makes up for what it lacks in marquee names with a versatile lineup.

Benitez is a microcosm of that restructuring, playing her third position, in part to compensate for a late-season injury last spring.

In Darien, only the names change.

Or, as New Canaan coach Kristin Woods so aptly put it after her team’s 12-9 loss to the Blue Wave earlier this month, “They don’t have down years, no matter who is on the field.”

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