Woodland tops Naugatuck
NAUGATUCK — The Woodland softball team only scored in one inning. But that turned out to be plenty on Tuesday against Naugatuck.
Alyssa Skibo’s sacrifice fly in the fourth started a five-run rally as the Hawks scored all their runs in the frame while Samantha Lee pitched a six-hit gem for a 5-0 victory.
Woodland (6-3) notched 10 hits, including three by Brooke Leshin and two each by Brianna Pacileo and Natalie Veneri. All three players scored in the fourth off Naugatuck (5-4) ace Alexa Marucci, who struck out four.
“Our pitch selection was so much better than it has been in recent games,” Woodland coach Loren Luddy said. “It definitely feels like we are doing better at the plate. We’re smarter at the plate and therefore getting more hits.”
Lee struck out five for another victory under her belt. The sophomore has won her last three starts after suffering close losses in three of the previous four.
“Sammy Lee pitched excellent,” Luddy said. “She was hitting her spots exactly where we needed them to hold them scoreless. The last few games, Sammy Lee has really been comfortable. She’s throwing the right pitches at the right time and doing a great job keeping hitters off balance.”
Woodland’s defense was also strong, committing just one error. Luddy pointed out Pacileo as being a key cog in the infield.
“Brianna Pacileo was huge at first base,” Luddy said. “She made some great reaches on high throws and some great stretches to get some big outs at first. Defensively our communication has improved so we’re making the plays that we have to make to win the close games.”
Naugatuck’s loss was its third in a row against three of the league’s top pitchers — Lee, Seymour’s Kelly Ferris, and Torrington’s Sydney Matzko. Coach Kevin Wesche said he thinks continuing to gain experience and consistency will be important over the second half of the year.
“I think we’re trying to mature,” said Wesche, whose team was led by two hits from Shannon Searles. “I don’t think we’re quite there yet. We do some good things but we don’t do them consistently. That’s what we have to strive for.”
Wesche said he also wants to see more confidence on defense. The Greyhounds made two errors on Tuesday.
“They seem a little too hesitant and afraid to make mistakes,” Wesche said. “They sit back and wait for things to happen instead of being aggressive and making plays.”
Still, Wesche praised the work ethic of his young team and noted Marucci’s ability to keep the ‘Hounds in tight games nearly every time out.
“It’s very evident the things that she’s done in the offseason to make herself a factor this year,” Wesche said of Marucci. “You can tell her strength, her speed, her spots, and her movement are all a lot better than this year. Guiding a young team, she’s been doing a very good job of keeping us close and in games.”
Naugy was set to visit Watertown on Wednesday before hosting Ansonia on Friday and St. Paul on Monday. The ‘Hounds will venture out of league on Tuesday to face Bethel and visit Derby on May 2.
Woodland looks to continue its winning streak on Wednesday against Holy Cross and Thursday against Sacred Heart. The Hawks will host Kennedy on Monday and Wilby on May 2.