Just 15 years old and nicknamed "Big Daddy," Ian Burns is an imposing presence on the mound at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds.

The rising junior scattered six hits Tuesday, July 2, to help lead Westport's Senior Legion team to a 7-2 victory over Fairfield at Staples High School in Westport.

It was the first Senior Legion win for Burns, who pitched out of two jams to prevent Fairfield from taking the lead. He finished with two walks and five strikeouts.

Michael Terzian and Frank Vartuli backed Burns with home runs and each drove in three runs.

Terzian drilled a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to give Westport a 2-0 lead, and Vartuli's solo shot snapped a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fourth.

"It feels good to get on the mound and pump strikes and get the win," said Burns, who could vie for a spot in Staples' rotation next season. "It's a real good group of guys. We make plays, we hit the ball well and pitchers throw strikes."

Westport is off to a promising 7-4 start under first-year manager Jeff Love, who stepped in following the retirement of Wayne Randazzo.

Love spent seven years in the minor leagues before a torn ACL ended his career, and he's served as a junior varisity coach at Staples, and also spent the past three seasons coaching the Fairfield Owls, an AAU program in Fairfield.

Love already has made an impact as Tuesday's victory enabled Westport to surpass last season's win total (6-21).

"I'm happy with the effort so far," Love said. "I think there's a lot of room for improvement. We're developing, but there's a long way for us to go. The kids we have are buying in a little bit.

"They're coming every night to play and I think they believe they can do something, so it's going well."

Fairfield dropped to 3-11 and continues to struggle scoring runs.

Tuesday marked the seventh time it has been limited to two runs or less this season. Post 143 has been blanked four times and held to one run twice.

"We've been in every game except for two, Greenwich (18-4) and Stamford (10-0)," Fairfield manager Ed Conway said. "It's a wood-bat league, you have to hit-and-run, advance the runners, and we're not getting the key hits this year. We're struggling at the plate."

Fairfield got back one run in the third when Jack Whiting doubled with one out and scored on Tim Moran's two-out single. Fairfield then tied it in the top of the fourth on consecutive singles by Peter Detrick, Steven Brunetti and Jackson Rotondo. However, Burns escaped a second-and-third, no-out jam to keep the contest tied.

Two innings earlier, Fairfield couldn't score after putting runners on second and third with one out.

"(Burns) moves pretty well for a big kid," Love said. "He had good action on his fastball. He kept the ball down in the zone. Overall, he did a really good job."

Then there's Terzian, the younger brother of recently graduated Bryan Terzian, who was a four-year varsity starter for Staples. Michael Terzian, another rising junior, has his brother's stocky build and is nicknamed "The Bear." His older sibling is "The Bull."

"Mikey's got a short stroke and he's not bad," Love said. "He's done a great job at the Legion level this year. He's a good hitter."

Westport broke it open with three runs in the fifth as Michael Terzian walked with the bases loaded and Vartuli delivered a two-run single. Eric Hawes scored Westport's final run in the sixth on an error.

For Fairfield, it's a familiar story. With five AAU teams in town, the talent is spread too thin.

"There's too many of them, that's the problem," Conway said. "We've always said that if we got the best kids on one team, whoever coaches that team, Fairfield would win the whole state. That's the talent we have in Fairfield. I would never talk negatively about any other teams, but the kids are spread out all over the place."

Austin Boungiormo took the loss, allowing six runs -- four earned -- in 4 1/3 innings.

Bob Birge is a freelance writer


FAIRFIELD 001 100 0 -- 2 6 4

WESTPORT 200 131 x --7 8 1

Batteries: F -- Austin Boungiormo (L), Matt Lilly (5) and Steven Brunetti; W -- Ian Burns (W) and Matt


Home runs: W -- Michael Terzian, Frank Vartuli.