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Tuesday, September 19 High School Sports

Brown’s double gives Darien walk-off win over Staples

DARIEN — Up until Thursday, the Darien baseball team hadn’t won a one-run game.

It had lost twice — to Trumbull in eight innings and Ridgefield last Friday. With the FCIAC playoff race heading down the home stretch, Darien picked a perfect time to win its first close one.

Tied in the bottom of the seventh, Sean O’Malley ripped a double into the right-centerfield gap, scoring Casey Brown from first and giving the Blue Wave a dramatic 4-3 conference win over Staples.

“This the kind of game you sign up to play for,” Darien coach Mike Scott said. “I’m proud of how we competed, we haven’t had a one-run win all year so it’s good to be on the right side of one of these things.”

O’Malley, who hit a walk-off double in last year’s FCIAC title game, has showed a propensity for the big moment.

“He left a fastball down the middle, he made a mistake and I capitalized,” O’Malley said of his clutch hit. “I was just watching Casey, and once he booted it I knew he had a shot.”

Staples (9-7, 8-4 FCIAC) struck first in the top of inning one when Drew Rogers walked, stole second and third and came home on a passed ball.

O’Malley scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at one in the fourth, but the Wreckers went up 2-1 in the fifth on Rogers’ RBI single.

In the bottom half of the fifth, the Blue Wave (9-6, 8-4) found themselves right where they want to be — with a runner on and Casey Brown at the plate.

The lefty slugger got a 2-0 fastball and didn’t miss, parking it well over the right-center field wall to give Darien a 3-2 lead.

“You never take anything for granted, but he’s the guy you want up in that situation,” Scott said. “He’s a beast up there, he got a good swing on the ball and you see what happened.”

Staples once again tied the game in the top of the sixth on Chad Knight’s solo homer.

“It was good baseball game,” Staples coach Jack McFarland said. “It was a playoff type atmosphere and that’s what you want at this point in the season.”

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

Peter Marren/Jackson Vaught, Darien. Needing longevity due to a four-game week, Marren and Vaught elevated their games Thursday, combining to allow only three hits and three runs against a talented Staples lineup.

“Peter had a great day on the mound and Jackson came in and did a great job,” Darien coach Mike Scott said. “Playing four days in a row, we’re deep in our pitching staff and those guys came in and their effort was tremendous.”

LUCKY BOUNCE

In the bottom of the seventh Casey Brown struck out on a 3-2 curveball, but the pitch bounced hard off the plate and over the backstop, putting Brown on first, where he would come around to score on O’Malley’s double.

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“It’s been a long week,” Staples coach Jack McFarland said. “I thought both pitchers (George Goldstein and Chad Knight) were great. Sometimes you have to win 8-4, they can’t be perfect. It’s a hitter’s park here, Chad put a nice swing on one and it ended up being 4-3—that’s real baseball.”

aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP

DARIEN 4, STAPLES 3

STAPLES 100 011 0—3 3 0

DARIEN 000 120 1—4 7 0

Records: Staples 9-7, 8-4 FCIAC; Darien 9-6, 8-4. Batteries: S—George Goldstein, Chad Knight (5, L) and Matt Stone; D—Peter Marren, Jackson Vaught (6, W) and Cord Fox.

Anthony E. Parelli|Sports Writer, Sports Editor

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