By Andrew Callahan
Darien catcher Anthony DiMeglio smacked a two-run home run in the second inning and led his team to a 9-4 victory over reigning state champion New Canaan yesterday in a preseason scrimmage at Darien High School. The Blue Wave staked an early 5-0 edge by consistently working the count against Ram starter Alex Lapolice, which proved to be enough to top its longtime rival. Darien's Stephen Barston worked four solid innings from the mound to pick up the win.
"It's a scrimmage, but at the same time, we wanted to come out and compete against a team we think is going to be a pretty darn good team, " Darien coach Mike Scott said. "We obviously didn't see their A-game today " but I liked the way we approached their pitchers at the plate and I liked the way our pitchers attacked their hitters. We just tried to play our brand of baseball."
Peter Archey opened the scoring in the second inning with an RBI double off the centerfield wall to put the Blue Wave ahead 1-0. In the following at-bat, DiMeglio blasted a Lapolice fastball over the left field fence to triple Darien's lead.
"It was a 1-2 count and he kind of left it inside," DiMeglio said. "It was my pitch, so I hopped on it."
The Blue Wave tacked on two more runs in the third inning, via a bases loaded and sacrifice fly. New Canaan right fielder Nick Cascione hit a solo shot to left in the subsequent half-inning, after the Rams had struggled to produce quality at-bats in their first run through the order.
"We were a little bit out in front and a little more aggressive than we should have been," New Canaan coach Mitch Hoffman said. "We should've let it travel a little bit more, and I'm okay with going after strikes. We just didn't hit as well as we did yesterday (against Stamford)."
With an RBI double off the bat of senior Eric Jager, New Canaan worked to trim its deficit to three in the top of the fifth. Then, natural right-hander Dan Rajkowski took to the hill, where he proceeded to pitch left-handed, walk three hitters and allow a sacrifice fly.
"I gave him a shot to try to do it and that was it," Hoffman said. "We might use it to eat some innings here and there, but that's it."
By the end of the frame, Darien had extended its lead to 8-3, before the teams would trade runs in the final two innings and end the game.
To close a scoreless first frame, New Canaan's Max Wilson made a spectacular diving in centerfield to snare a George Reed line drive. The teams will meet again in the regular season on May 14 at Darien High School with the first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.
"We've got nothing but respect for those guys over there," Scott said. "And we anticipate a much different game when we see them again."
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