Round of Applause
The Naugatuck-Woodland rivalry surged on this week with matchups in almost every spring sport, and most of the competitions yielded a whole lot of fun. The scoreboard leading into Monday’s golf match between the Hawks and ‘Hounds reads as such: Woodland 4, Naugatuck 2. The closest competitions came in girls tennis (4-3 to Woodland) and softball (6-5 to Woodland in extra innings) but the baseball game was a particularly heated contest with plenty of chatter exchanged between dugouts. I’ve talked to a number of people in the area about the rivalry, and many of them think this is the best rivalry in the Naugatuck Valley League right now. I’ve seen it as close as anybody in a number of sports, and I can totally vouch for it. Thankfully the schools will be together in the NVL Iron Division starting next year, so we get to double our fun! That deserves a big thumbs-up.
The Blues-Blackhawks series has been a total blast to watch so far as we’re underway in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I finally have a team that I can fully get behind with the Blues, so I’m intensely involved in this series. I’m all in on St. Louis because the franchise has my three favorite players in Ryan Miller, TJ Oshie and David Backes, and they all play crucial roles on the squad. Take the Blues and square them off against Chicago, the defending Stanley Cup champion, and you’ve got the makings for a tremendous first-round series. It’s not the only great series going on, either. The Penguins and Blue Jackets, Rangers and Flyers, Wild and Avalanche, and Sharks and Kings are all involved in excellent series. Give it a chance, friends. It’s infinitely more exciting than the NBA playoffs, of which I will watch none.
Chorus of Boos
The 500-home-run club means nothing anymore, and that’s a sad fact. Albert Pujols hit his 499th and 500th career home runs Tuesday night for the Los Angeles Angels and unfortunately nobody really cares. Maybe there’s a touch of east coast bias there with him being out in California these days, but that’s definitely a minority reason. For the foreseeable future, career home run numbers will mean very little in the grand scheme of baseball records because of what the last 20 years full of steroids did to them. Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez and others are all members of the club — they are the reasons that the number means so much less than it did just a short time ago. There may eventually come a time when 500 homers mean something again, but that time is not now. What a shame it is.
Beacon Hose Softball
Our season opener was Monday night under the lights at the Rec. This is, as mentioned last week, our first season in the Valley Firemen’s Softball League, so the powers that be decided to throw us to the wolves in our first game and have us play the multiple-time defending league champions on our home field. The result? Well, we had 27 fewer hits than the opposition had runs. My brother Cal had our only hit on a ground ball up the middle in the first inning. For those strong at math, you’ve already figured out that the final score was 28-0. But we did make progress throughout the game — we trailed 19-0 after two innings and only allowed nine runs in the last three innings, including a BIG OL’ GOOSE EGG in the top of the fifth. Sadly, our offensive effort was not strong enough to avoid the mercy rule and the night ended early. We will press on, however. We hit the road Monday night to take on another department from Derby in search of our first run — and our second hit.
The ‘Hounds are off to one of their best starts in recent memory after sweeping a pair of tri-meets to begin this week. Naugy’s 177 beat Wolcott’s 192 and Wilby’s 288 on Monday at the par-36 Hop Brook Golf Course. Nick Tribanas’ 38 earned him the meet’s medal, while Tyler Sounanthanam shot a 43, Jake Alcorace fired a 47, Dan Capone carded a 49 and Brendan Waldron posted a 51. The following day at Hop Brook, Naugy shot an identical score to hold off Sacred Heart (182) and Kennedy (262). Waldron led the way with a 41 while Tribanas shot a 43, Sounanthanam carded a 44 and Alcorace fired a 49. The Greyhounds (4-0) will visit Oxford Greens on Monday to face Woodland before hosting Watertown on Tuesday. Naugy will also compete in the Woodland Invitational on May 1.
Word from the Woods
The Hawks are off to a 3-2 start this spring. On Monday Woodland posted a score of 202, which was good enough to knock off Kennedy but was 11 strokes shy of Holy Cross. The Hawks’ Ryan Warner fired a 46, which was one shot short of tying for the match’s medal. Andy O’Dell shot a 50, Mike Erickson carded a 52 and Owen Harris posted a 54. The next day, Woodland’s team score of 200 was good for a win over Crosby but short of St. Paul’s 180 at the par-35 Chippanee Golf Course in Bristol. Warner won the medal with a 42, while Erickson shot a 46, Harris carded a 50 and Zach Crowell posted a 62. On Thursday, Woodland posted a score of 200 versus Watertown and won by 15 strokes. Erickson, the match’s medalist, shot a 43. Woodland will host Naugatuck at Oxford Greens on Monday and East Hampton next Wednesday. The Hawks will also host their annual Woodland Invitational on May 1.