NAUGATUCK — One thing’s for sure with the 2014 edition of the Naugatuck softball team: They’ll be competitive.
Head coach Kevin Wesche, now in his 12th season, said this year’s team already showed it has heart. It started in the offseason and carried over into the exhibition season.
“They have a willingness to be competitive,” Wesche said. “Their preparation with conditioning and in the batting cages has been great.”
Practices have been sharp and intensity has been high as the ‘Hounds have several positions open. However, some spots in the lineup are spoken for, beginning with one of Naugy’s senior captains, Gillian Fortier.
Fortier last year earned All-State honors for the third straight season. Her numbers included 42 hits, a .618 average, 31 runs, 30 RBI and 10 stolen bases.
Wesche said Fortier may see time at shortstop instead of third base.
“She has good range and she’s comfortable there,” Wesche said of Fortier.
Fellow senior captain Kara Klimaszewski may also move on defense, from the outfield to the infield. Wesche said Klimaszewski played infield during travel ball season.
Another senior captain, Erica Bohuski, will see time at second and will complete for time at pitcher with junior Jenna Miller.
Whether it’s Bohuski or Miller, both will likely be pitching to junior Shannon Searles, who proved she could handle the position last year at the varsity level and earned the title of captain this season.
Also expect junior Lauren Burns (first base) and sophomore Sandra Dinis (first or second base) to spend time in the infield. Senior Sandra Marques will serve as the team’s utility infielder.
The outfield will be anchored by senior captain Kait Barry, who was described by her coach as “someone to watch” and has had quality at-bats in the preseason. Erika Andreoli and Jackie Aronin will also play the outfield for Naugy.
“We’ve been focused in practice, and as a coach I appreciate that,” Wesche said. “We have people competing for positions.”
The Greyhounds reached the Class L state tournament second round last season. Naugatuck (15-8) beat Hall in the first round before falling to Darien in the second round.
Naugy will have a couple more exhibition games before opening at home against Derby on April 9 at Breen Field. Before then, Naugy will play two quality non-conference opponents, Lauralton Hall and Masuk, in practice games.