Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Masahiro Tanaka Continuing his Dominance in the MLB

by Jake Frasca

After acquiring Masahiro Tanaka in the free agency pool this offseason for a large sum of money, the Yankees can comfortably say that the Japanese superstar is fulfilling their expectations. Tanaka has started five games for the Pinstripes so far this season, and has managed to strike out forty-six batters while only walking six. No other pitcher has ever accomplished this feat through their first five career starts. Not to mention that he has also accumulated a 2.27 ERA over 35.2 innings (all five starts) and so far has led the Yankees pitching staff with three wins and zero losses. In his two no-decisions, he has been magnificent, striking out ten against the Orioles and a career-high eleven against the Angels. Perhaps one of Tanaka’s most impressive stats so far this season is his opponents’ batting average; he is alone in sixth place in the entire MLB in this category, with batters hitting a measly .205 against him.

Watching Tanaka deal with his extensive repertoire is fascinating. Batters must think about a total of seven different pitches to think about. His most feared pitch so far this season, without a doubt, has been the splitter. Similar to a traditional sinker, Tanaka has found a way to make the pitch one of the nastiest in the MLB. For most batters, Tanaka has been lights-out, bringing a different command style to pitching. Look forward to his next probable start against the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend.

Tanaka delivering his splitter against the Blue Jays.

Predicting the 1st Team All-FCIAC Baseball Team

by Stephen Barston

As the baseball season reaches the halfway point, certain players throughout the FCIAC have proved their worth. Some students have even done enough to gain college scholarships; for those that may not have done quite this much, they have my All-FCIAC prediction as consolation.

Corey Brosz (Danbury, P)
Nick Cascione (New Canaan, OF)
Brendan Donohue (Darien, 2B)
Kyle Dunster (Greenwich, P)
Sam Ellinwood (Staples, SS)
Tommy Luckner (Fairfield Warde, OF)
Nick Nardone (Fairfield Warde, P/IF)
Randy Polonia (Trinity Catholic, SS)
Dan Rajkowski (New Canaan, P)
George Reed (Darien, 3B)
Avery Santos (Trumbull, P/IF)

Donohue placing a tag on a Trinity runner in a recent game.

Top 3 FCIAC School Nicknames

by Stephen Barston

The FCIAC is generally regarded by sports pundits in Connecticut as being the toughest conference in the state. Furthermore, some school mascots reflect this daunting reputation perfectly. Listed below are the top three FCIAC school nicknames, based solely on intimidation factor.

1. Staples Wreckers: Although it may be a pretty unorthodox mascot, the "Wrecker" conveys an image of brute strength and power, something that Staples High School backs up with consistently impressive athletic performances, especially in sports like football (where they finished third in the conference) and baseball (where they are currently tied for second).

2. Fairfield Warde Mustangs: It might just be the fact that the word "Mustang" simply conjures up an image of pure, unadulterated masculinity (probably because of the famous Ford muscle car), but Fairfield Warde is inherently intimidating. The color scheme, red and black, also helps: as the famed Dwight Schrute once said on "The Office", black is the best color because "it is the most dominant".

3. Trinity Catholic Crusaders: Although this mascot may be slightly outdated (it is, in fact, an allusion to the men who valiantly fought in defense of their religion in the Middle Ages), the sheer fact that it references the powerful Catholic army definitely gives this school's metaphorical "Catholic army" an advantage on the sports field.

Blue Wave Lax Uses Big Second Half to Beat Warde

by Chris Rehm

The Blue Wave lacrosse team took on the Mustangs of Fairfield Warde on Tuesday, April 23rd on the DHS Stadium Turf. The first half of this game was much closer than projected; solid play from the Fairfield Warde goalie kept the Mustangs in the game, but the Blue Wave led 4-2 at halftime with senior captain Kyle Cornell leading the way. Darien turned it up a notch in the second half and became the team fans have seen throughout the season against tough teams like Niskayuna and Manhasset. The Blue Wave scored four unanswered goals to start the second half, and never looked back from that point. Cornell continued his stellar play throughout the game and ended up with a game-high four goals, which ultimately guided the team to a 12-5 victory. After the game, senior captain Brad McCarthy said, “We didn’t start the game the way we wanted to, but in the second half the offense really turned it around and we came away with a good W.”

Come support the boys in their next home game against rival New Canaan on Saturday, May 3rd at 3:00 pm.

Senior Brad McCarthy has been the leader of the Blue Wave's solid defense this season.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blue Wave Baseball Wins Big Against Trinity

by Stephen Barston

On Monday, April 28, the Darien High School Varsity Baseball team squared off at home against Trinity Catholic. This game was important for DHS, as the team hoped to get off on the right foot as they entered the more difficult second half of their season.

Senior Andrew Nault started on the mound for the Blue Wave once again, pitching five innings and allowing 5 runs in total (only two of which were earned). Darien struggled to support Nault on offense early on in the game, but when the Crusaders made a pitching change in the fifth inning, the Blue Wave pounced on the opportunity. Down 5-3 at the beginning of the inning, DHS scored one run, and then loaded the bases. Junior third baseman Jake Frasca quickly unloaded them with a grand slam (his first career varsity hit), a shot over the left centerfield fence. This put the Blue Wave up 8-5, and the team never looked back. The final score was 18-6 in favor of DHS, with 9 of these runs coming in the sixth inning alone.

“They had a couple hard hits and other ones just found holes," Coach Scott said. "The name of the game is not giving the other team extra outs or bases. It is making them earn their way on and we really did that today."

Come check out DHS in action next at Bridgeport Central on Wednesday, April 29 at 4 PM.

Some Blue Wave players celebrate junior Jake Frasca's grand slam.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Boys Tennis Loses Match to Ridgefield

by Caroline McKay

On Thursday, April 16, the Boys Varsity Tennis Team played a match against Ridgefield at Ridgefield High School.

“We lost, but everyone played well and battled hard. We are preparing now for our upcoming matches,” junior Sammy Alptekin said. Alptekin was unable to play due to injuries he sustained during the previous match on Wednesday.

Senior Brad D’Alelio and freshman Cooper Murray played doubles, but lost to the Ridgefield duo 6-3, 6-1. Senior Tyler Hatfield lost his singles match 6-4, 7-5. In an exciting tiebreaker, sophomore Russell Mahaney fought hard but could not pull out a win, losing 6-2, 2-6, and 10-7.

The boys’ next match is at home at 4 pm on Monday, 4/28.

Alptekin during action from the 2013 season.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Girls Varsity Tennis Defeats Wilton in Two Day Match

by Mary Brown

The Darien Girls Varsity Tennis Team took home a win over the Wilton Warriors after facing very unusual circumstances at Wilton High School. On Tuesday, April 22nd, a little bit of rain caused the courts to get slippery and dangerous, forcing them to postpone the match halfway through the playing to the following day, Wednesday, April 23rd. Tennis is arguably one of the most difficult sports for such a condition. “Tennis is a sport where you can have really good days and really bad days, so splitting the match into two days gave the risk of playing worse the following day,” said senior captain Libby Feingold.

Despite the situation, the Blue Wave was still able to defeat Wilton, winning a total of four matches over Wilton’s three wins. For Darien, the matches were won by freshman Mia Dirscht (singles), junior Pia Teschner (singles), Feingold and junior Erika Gill (doubles), as well as freshman Susie Alptekin and junior Allegra Molkenthin (doubles).

Among the great performances was an exceptional win from Teschner, who used the split of the match into two days to her advantage. On Tuesday, she lost her first set and it appeared as if she was certainly going to lose the match. Fortunately, she came back to win both the second and third sets, finishing off the third set with a 6-0 win over her opponent.

Come support the Girls Tennis Team in their next match on Tuesday, April 29th at 4:00 P.M. at Darien High School.

Senior captain Libby Feingold serves the ball and helps lead her team to victory.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Freshmen Lax Remains Undefeated, Defeat Wilton

by Britton Barthold

The Darien High School freshmen lacrosse team defeated Wilton today by a score of 9-6. The team started off strong, pulling away into a 5-1 lead early, but allowed for Wilton to comeback and make the score 5-5. The half however ended on a snipe to the top shelf by attackman Will Ahl, giving the team a 6-5 lead. The 2nd half was a different story, as the freshmen were able to grab three more goals and only allow one due to great defense by Max Romeyn and great goaltending by Ryan Cornell. Also, a huge help came from the part of Kevin Lindley, who grabbed a hat trick in the victory. In the end, goalie Brian Keating was happy with the win but said, “It was very scrappy.”

The freshmen look to continue their success this season, with a huge tilt coming up against Chaminade on April 26th.

Freshman Morgan Kennedy maneuvers through the Brien McMahon
defense during a game earlier this season. (Photo Courtesy: Darien AF)

Wave Rugby Knocks Off Ridgefield, Improves to 2-1

Wednesday evening in Connecticut State Rugby league action saw the 1-1 Darien Blue Wave take on the 0-1 Ridgefield Tigers in what turned out to be a thrilling matchup. While the Wave is in the midst of its second official varsity season, the Tigers are just getting started in their first, having previously been a part of the Aspetuck Valley Rugby Club.

Prior to the start of the game, it was announced that Darien would be without one of their key players, junior Jack Griffiths, as the result of an after-school Calculus test that he was forced to make up. Sophomore Spencer Stovall was chosen to fill the very large shoes of Griffiths, also known as “The Human Wrecking Ball”, at tighthead prop alongside fellow front-rowers Alex Gunn and Bill Petti. To start, the absence of Griffiths turned out not to make much of a difference, as the Wave dominated the rucks, scrums, and lineouts early on. Though Ridgefield struck first with a three-point penalty kick, Darien came right back with a try from senior center Zach Basu. From then on, the game was a battle, with senior Andrew Morgan scoring on a penalty kick and Ridgefield scoring two more tries to put them up by seven.

With ten minutes and Ridgefield ready to pull off the upset, senior flanker Tyler Hill was finally able to break the gridlock and score, with Andrew Morgan converting the extra points to tie up the game. A few minutes later, Morgan came up clutch on another penalty kick, which put the Wave up 20-17 and sealed the victory.

Of the win, senior Zach Basu said, “The forwards played very well, with veterans like James Foster and Alex Gunn, as well as newcomers Spencer Stovall and James Fox, coming up huge in the rucks. We owe this victory over a pretty tenacious Ridgefield team to them.”

Come support Blue Wave Rugby in their next home game against Greenwich High School on Thursday May 8 at Royle School.

Sophomore Austen Appleby is one of the newcomers who’s made a big impact. (Darien AF)