Plaskys carry on family legacy on the diamond
NAUGATUCK — About 30 years ago a trio of Plasky brothers left their mark on the athletic programs at Naugatuck High School. Rick, Ron and Rob Plasky went on to the coaching ranks for the Greyhounds and as their families grew, the anticipation of the next Plasky era of athletes took hold.
Ron’s oldest son, Kyle, and Rick’s oldest, Rick, grew up together on the same street in a competitive athletic environment, dreaming about the days when they would carrying on the Plasky legacy at Naugy — especially on the diamond.
“Growing up with Rick we are best friends as well as cousins,” Kyle said. “We have each other’s back and there has been a little bit of pressure keeping up the Plasky name after what my dad and uncles have accomplished.”
“Sure there is a little bit of pressure to succeed having the Plasky name,” Rick agreed. “But ever since we have been growing up, the support of our family has been a tremendous aspect in helping us grow into the confident players that we have become.”
This baseball season the Greyhounds ripped off a nine-game winning streak with a team full of seniors, including the Plasky cousins. Naugatuck ended the regular season 15-5 with sights set on a successful postseason as a last hurrah.
Kyle turned in his catcher’s garb to use his slick fielding glove at second base and give the ‘Hounds a very formidable double-play combination with shortstop Jason Bradley.
“Kyle has turned into an integral part of our infield and double-play combination,” Naugatuck head coach Tom Deller said. “He is an extremely unselfish player and would do anything to help the team get better.”
Rick has become the Greyhounds’ go-to guy on the mound, leading the team in innings pitched (45 2/3) while compiling a 4-2 record with a stingy 1.99 ERA through Tuesday.
“Rick has developed into our big-situation pitcher,” Deller said. “He throws strikes and gets us the ground ball. He understands the game and doesn’t get rattled.”
Since changing positions this season, Kyle has been a mainstay in the infield. He holds a perfect fielding percentage with zero errors and six double plays on 61 chances through Monday.
“I caught last year, mainly when John Dean pitched,” Kyle said. “I like playing second base and playing alongside Jason Bradley. We have established a good double-play combination.”
Kyle has also ramped up his offensive game, leading the team with 23 hits for a .365 average through Monday. He’s second on the team with 16 runs, 14 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
“Kyle has really done well in the No. 2 spot in our batting order,” Deller said. “He went from a .250 hitter to a .350 hitter and is getting the timely hits that we have relied on to be successful this season.”
Rick has also seen an improvement in his production at the plate, batting at a .300 clip with nine hits and seven runs scored in 30 plate appearances through Monday. But more than his success at the plate, Rick’s performances on the hill have been a major reason why Naugatuck has improved from 8-14 last year to 15-5 heading into this postseason.
“Steve Hiscock worked with me in developing my curve ball and changeup,” Rick said. “That has made a big difference in the success I’ve had this year. I’m not surprised at how well the team is doing because everyone went out and worked hard to improve their game in the offseason. I just try and concentrate on throwing strikes and putting the ball in play letting my defense back me up making the plays behind me.”
Thanks in part to the Plaskys, Naugatuck has turned from a team that struggled in close games into one that thrives in them.
“Last year we lost five or six games by a total of like six runs combined,” Kyle said. “I think the difference this year is we have been able to get our offense in gear, getting the timely hits when needed. A lot of the guys bought into what we are trying to accomplish and have put in the hard work. That has been the key to our success.”
Kyle will be looking to join the Coastal Carolina baseball team in the fall while Rick has his sights set on playing for Springfield College. The two cousins are looking forward to ending their high school careers at Naugatuck with a bang and helping the Greyhounds make a mark in what should be a wide-open Naugatuck Valley League tournament.