GREENWICH — Darien scored 10 runs and pounded out just as many hits in five innings of Friday’s game against Greenwich, but just one run would have been plenty for hard-throwing right-hander Henry Williams.
A senior, Williams was on his game from the outset, striking out the first six batters he faced for the Blue Wave, who are beginning to resemble the squad that won the FCIAC title in 2018.
Williams pitched a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts and visiting Darien used a six-run second inning to register an impressive 10-0 win over FCIAC foe Greenwich.
With their fourth consecutive victory, the Blue Wave improved their record to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in FCIAC play. The Duke University-bound Williams struck out the side in the first two innings and faced only one batter over the minimum in the game, which was stopped after the fifth inning due to the 10-run rule.
“I threw a lot of curveballs,” Williams said. “We faced them during the preseason and they started timing up my fastball, so I wanted to keep them off balance.”
Senior designated hitter Nicky Briganti went 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs, while senior outfielder Glen Fay had three hits, including a double and knocked in three runs.
“It’s so easy to pitch with a lead after we score runs like that,” Williams said. “It gives you more room to be relaxed and attack hitters.”
Sophomore outfielder Danny Perez had the Cardinals’ lone hit, lining a single to right field off Williams in the bottom of the third inning.
“He (Williams) is a great pitcher, so we knew we had our work cut out for us,” said GHS coach Mike Mora, whose squad is 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the FCIAC. “Once we knew he was on the mound, we knew we would have to play error-free baseball, which we didn’t. We got exposed a little today. Fortunately, we have a game tomorrow (Saturday at Southington), so we have a long bus ride to regroup and give it a shot.”
Cardinals senior right-hander Luc Thibeault retired the side in order in the first inning, but Darien put six runs on the scoreboard in the second inning. Outfielder Devyn Kipphut walked and catcher Ben Olson was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Fay then singled to center field, scoring Kipphut and giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Briganti followed with a double to deep left field, bring two runs home to put the Blue Wave ahead, 3-0. After Thibeault allowed an RBI double to third baseman James Louis, senior left-hander Zach Karson came on to pitch for the Cards.
Shortstop Mac McLean added a sacrifice fly and Williams got a run in with a ground out in the pivotal inning.
“The way he (Williams) was pitching, we didn’t need a lot of runs, but we got a lot, said Fay, who like Williams, is one of Darien’s captains. “At the plate, I just took the approach that I’ve done every single time this season — just stay back and drive the ball. It worked out and it worked out for the rest of my teammates.”
Fay delivered a run-scoring single off Greenwich reliever Alex Roath in the third inning and hit an RBI single in the fifth. Briganti added a run-scoring single in the fifth inning and second baseman Alec Stephens drove the Blue Wave’s 10th run in with a sacrifice fly off GHS pitcher Owen Bass in the fifth inning.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Williams did not issue a walk while turning in his one-hitter.
“He’s a presence on the mound and our guys feed off it,” Darien coach Mike Scott said. “They want to do well behind him defensively. He (Williams) pounds the zone, he challenges the hitters and he has tremendous stuff, which is hard to hit at the the high-school level.”
Said Williams: “My off-speed stuff was working and I was able to locate my fastball when I needed to. I felt loose and had a lot of energy today.”
Fay and Briganti paced the offense with three clutch hits apiece.
“Our guys did a good job of trusting themselves, letting the pitch come to them and putting a good swing on it,” Scott said.