FCIAC

Darien 8, Trumbull 1: With Blue Wave’s Osherow, It Is Erika With A K. The I Is Silent

DARIEN — She hit what her coach said is the longest home run in the history of her team’s relatively new field, pitched a four-hitter and even flashed her defensive prowess by catching a couple of line drives that would have made the goaltenders at her school’s excellent lacrosse teams proud.

There is little that Darien’s Erika Osherow cannot do, and didn’t do in Wednesday’s 8-1 win over Trumbull.

Well, except open up about her performance, or hot start to the season.

FCIAC

Stamford Pitcher Christina Joannou Uses Offseason To Embrace Her Greek Heritage

STAMFORD — Christina Joannou’s time clock is atypical of the average high school senior.

During the spring, as the starting pitcher for the Stamford softball team, Joannou is up early for Sunday morning practices. In the months leading up to the season, some of Joannou’s Saturday nights end not long before her current workouts begin.

Joannou embraces her heritage going to what is known as Bouzoukia, a term for nightclubs that feature Greek music and dancing. Sometimes attending with her parents, or brother Sam and his friends, Joannou went to the regular social gatherings, occasionally traveling to Norwalk or more often to Flushing in New York.

Baseball

Baseball Rotations A Key To Success; St. Joseph Softball On Early March

The recurrent storyline in late May of every baseball season may also be the trend for the next seven weeks as well.

For over a decade, lower seeds have won the FCIAC Tournament as often as higher seeds. The reason? Most of the title contenders have at least one good pitcher, the great equalizer.

This year, in a league that appears to be extremely top heavy, with what appears to be a larger number of very good teams than at any time in recent memory, more schools have at least one ace.

FCIAC

Joannou’s Pitching And Defense Carry Stamford Softball Team On Opening Day

FAIRFIELD — Christina Joannou was as economical with her words as she was with her pitches Wednesday afternoon, not long after pitching the best game of her career.

Joannou struck out eight, walked none and allowed just six hits in shutting out Fairfield Ludlowe, 4-0, in the season opener for both teams. Joannou hit her spots, deftly mixed her pitches, 69 percent of which were strikes.

Getting Joannou to open up about her performance was another matter. The Falcons were more successful with their bats against her than reporters were with their questions.

FCIAC

Softball 2014: St. Joseph Trying To Stay A Step Ahead Of A Hungry Pack

When we last left you 10 months ago, New Canaan — yes, New Canaan, where sticks and not bats usually predominate in the spring — was winning its first-ever FCIAC softball title.

The Rams were the sixth seed, a tribute to last season’s parity, when just two games separated the second through seventh seeds in the FCIAC Tournament.

Balance should again be a keyword this spring, though the dynamic will be different. Most of the top teams lost their best hitters. That means pitching, always the most important commodity, but one that was marginalized when the distance between mound and plate was moved back four feet, should return to being a vital element.

Not surprisingly, the preseason favorites all have good pitching.

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Baseball

Commentary: 2013 A Year Rich In Memorable Stories And Accomplishments

My annual year-end columns are assured of one thing: if I re-read them days later, I will inevitably realize leaving someone or something off the list.

The athletes, coaches and games that stood out the most resonate in my mind, so this compilation is done without the aid or poring over old stories and strictly off the top of my head.

Here, then, is what I will remember most about 2013:

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Softball

Making A New Pitch: Aliza Guerrero Ready To Take Her Game To The Next Level

FAIRFIELD — There were few indications that something was amiss, so little that only her coach and one or two of her teammates on the Fairfield Ludlowe softball team knew that Aliza Guerrero was struggling.

She was the same person with the warm smile and inviting personality, a strong hitter and fielder blessed with innate athletic ability, a tireless work ethic and a 5-10 frame to boot.