Softball: Darien rallies to beat Ridgefield in FCIAC quarterfinals

A four-run sixth inning gave the Darien softball team a 4-1 comeback victory over Ridgefield in an FCIAC quarterfinal game Friday at Darien High School.

The Tigers, who were seeded seventh in the eight-team tourney, will now compete in the Class LL state tournament. Second-seed Darien moves on to the conference semifinals on Monday at Sacred Heart University.

Without getting a hit, Ridgefield (13-8 overall) went ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Sabrina Grizzaffi was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on Kailey Westington's sacrifice bunt and third on Kendall Rogoff's groundout before scoring when Amanda Kelly reached on a two-out error.

Ridgefield pitcher Kailey Westington protected the one-run lead through the first five innings. With Darien runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the fifth, Kelly snagged a line drive at first base and stepped on first for an unassisted double play.

The Blue Wave (17-4) had runners on first and second again in the bottom of the fifth, but a groundout to shortstop Sydnie DeMarco ended the at-bat.

After yielding the unearned run in the first inning, Darien pitcher Sophia Barbour held Ridgefield scoreless the rest of the way. The Tigers did threaten in the top of the second, as Lauren Bayer hit a two-out double and Ryan Fujitani walked. But Barbour retired Grizzaffi on a groundout to end the inning.

Darien broke through in the bottom of the sixth. Cassidy Schiff's singled and Barbour and Kristen Picard walked to load the bases with no outs. A walk to Rosalie Pirone then forced in a run and tied the game at 1-1.

An infield error allowed the Blue Wave to go ahead, 2-1, and Hailey King supplied a two-run double with two outs to extend Darien's lead to 4-1.

Barbour then retired Ridgefield in order in the top of the seventh to end the game.

Notes: Barbour finished with a two-hitter for Darien, walking two and striking out four.

Ridgefield's Westington allowed just three hits while walking six batters and striking out nine. Two of Darien's runs were unearned.

The Tigers are ranked 19th, unofficially, in the Class LL state tournament, which begins with qualifying-round games May 27. Official rankings will be released May 26.