The 2011 softball season in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference has been all about the offense. A year ago, the league was rich with pitching talent. But many players graduated, leaving the bats to have a field day. With the seedings finally set in the FCIAC softball tournament, the teams are ready to kick the tournament off Monday with four games at 4 p.m.
#1 Westhill vs. #8 Fairfield Ludlowe
This tournament begins and ends with the Westhill Vikings. Westhill is on a 44-game regular season winning streak and is the defending Class LL state champion. Westhill had to wait almost an entire week to take on its rival Darien thanks to four postponements but in the end clobbered the Blue Wave 11-1 on Sunday. Ace pitcher Allison Macari, one of the few who has been dominant on the mound this season, leads the Vikings. She also swings a mean stick at the plate and will be the driving force of this Westhill team. Westhill was denied its third straight FCIAC championship by Trumbull last season.
Ludlowe, meanwhile, squeaked into the playoffs thanks to a late-season surge and a last-minute collapse by Wilton. The Falcons have a young team, starting two freshmen, and will face a tall task against the Vikings. Ludlowe fell to Westhill, 10-2, back on April 11.
#2 Darien vs. #7 Fairfield Warde
This game has upset written all over it. Why? Warde just beat Darien, 1-0, three days ago. There is no denying the talent on Darien, though. They are led by ace pitcher Jess DeMaio and gritty shortstop Nicole Buch, whose passion for the game is evident from first pitch to the last out.
Warde, meanwhile, is led by its battery in pitcher Heather VanDerheyden and catcher Alyssa Borowy. The Mustangs have already proven they can beat Darien and will try to do it again Monday.
#3 St. Joseph vs. #6 Stamford
Here are two more teams that played each other for the first time this season just three days ago and are now doing it again. The Cadets edged Stamford, 2-1, on Friday. Stamford's potent offense is led by the best shortstop in the state, Krista Robustelli.
#4 New Canaan vs. #5 Danbury
New Canaan has been an enigma this season, rising to the challenge to hand Darien one of its three losses on the season. Yet the Rams were crushed by Stamford and edged by Wilton and a sub-.500 Greenwich squad. Either way, the Rams are playing in the FCIAC tournament for the first time in program history. New Canaan will be taking on a team it hasn't seen since way back on opening day, when it crushed Danbury, 14-5.
Which team do you think will win the FCIAC softball tournament? Start the discussion below!
Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for the latest MSC sports coverage.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.