A diamond in the rough

Corey Plasky of Naugatuck emerged as a diamond in the rough for Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury. Plasky finished his freshman season 6-0 on the mound. –CONTRIBUTED

Corey Plasky of Naugatuck emerged as a diamond in the rough for Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury. Plasky finished his freshman season 6-0 on the mound. –CONTRIBUTED

WATERBURY — After several rainouts and limited practice due to soaked fields, the Chase Collegiate baseball team finally got the season underway a week late on April 4. Chase’s starting pitcher was laboring through three innings with the Highlanders trailing by a 4-1 margin.

Head coach Ray Behr turned to his bench and asked if there was anyone who was willing to finish out the game for them. Freshman Corey Plasky eagerly accepted the challenge and Chase found its diamond in the rough.

Plasky went on to pitch the final four innings scattering just four hits, allowing one earned run and striking out seven in his first prep school appearance as Chase came back to defeat Forman 10-7. The Naugatuck native, and younger brother of Greyhounds second baseman Kyle Plasky, became the stopgap kind of pitcher that Behr was looking for. Plasky finished the season 6-0 on the hill for the Highlanders (8-5).

“Corey may be small in stature at this time, but his love for the game reminds me of (Benny ‘The Jet’) Rodriguez from the movie, ‘The Sandlot,’” Behr said. “Baseball to Corey isn’t just a game; it’s life.”

Plasky has worn the tools of a catcher for most of his baseball upbringing and has shown his glove work in the field as the Highlanders shortstop. He left his pitching game on the mound back in Little League but when he joined the Highlanders he left all his options open.

“I was looking for a school that would challenge me academically,” said Plasky, who has earned high honors during both semesters of his freshman year. “I looked at Canterbury, Taft and Chase. I knew the history of the Chase program and the success of Coach Behr and figured that was a good fit for me.”

Plasky quickly adapted himself to the chores on the hill and went out the next game to earn a win in relief, shutting down Heritage over 1 2/3 innings in a 6-4 victory.

“Corey is a fierce competitor, patient as a fielder but must work that patience at the bat,” Behr said. “He’s confident, reliable and has faith in himself and others. He adapts well to tough situations and he’s a very likeable kid.”

In his first start of the season, Plasky worked 5 2/3 innings while striking out three in an 8-3 win over Marianapolis Prep. He followed that up with a two-hit shutout over Masters Academy.

His success has come as a bit of a surprise to himself.

“To get ready to play prep school baseball, I spent the summer playing for my uncle Rick on the Naugatuck travel team and we finished in the semifinals of the states,” Plasky said. “I mostly caught and played the infield. I honestly didn’t expect to do so well at this level so quickly. I still need to focus on my hitting and will work to improve that this summer playing for the Naugatuck Junior Legion team. I’m looking forward to playing with a lot of the guys I grew up with.”

Over the course of his first year as a prep player, Corey had the experience of going to Cooperstown to play on the hallowed field where baseball was born. Chase lost by a slim 4-3 margin against New Milford as Corey spent most of the game at shortstop for the Highlanders.

In his final start of the season, Plasky tossed another two-hitter with seven strikeouts for win No. 6 in a 22-2 thrashing of New York Military Academy.

The Highlanders lost in the Housatonic Valley Athletic League semifinals, dropping a 3-0 decision to Heritage. Chase lost in the opening round of the New England Class D tournament against Hamden Hall.

“I was hoping we would go a little further in the playoffs,” Plasky admitted. “But that gives us something to shoot for next season. It has been a very rewarding year for me and the team and playing in Cooperstown was unbelievable.”

Behr looks forward to having three more years with his emerging young star.

“Corey comes from great stock of baseball players, present and past,” Behr said. “The name Plasky in Naugatuck baseball radiates with strong work ethics and an immeasurable love of the game. I’m so thankful that he is part of my baseball program, the pyramid of success awaits him.”

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