NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Sandy Koufax team won the regular season title with a 16-3 record this summer, before heading into the North Atlantic Regional tournament at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.
Head coach Rick Plasky along with assistant coaches Chris Bisson and Chris Flynn knew they had a strong pitching staff coming back this summer after Naugatuck made it to the semifinals of the state tournament last year.
“We knew the strength of the team would be our starting pitching,” Plasky said. “Last year was a good experience for a lot of the players and we reached the semifinals in the state tournament. That experience helped the confidence level on the team and we had a lot of key hits this summer and had good overall situational hitting, moving runners into scoring position.”
The pitching staff was led by Chris Flynn (6-0) and Nick Baldwin (4-0). Steve Marinaro was another workhorse with a 4-1 record. Jim Edwards and Mike Plasky contributed 1-0 records to round out the solid pitching for Naugatuck.
What put Naugatuck over the top to win the league championship was a lineup that could put its bat on the ball.
Zack Monck led the way pounding out a .382 average at the plate. Flynn at .362 and Marinaro at .359 took advantage of every RBI situation presented to them. Plasky at .347 along with Fran Phelan at .344 and Pat Browne at .333 were consistent table-setters in the productive lineup.
Corey Grohs led a group of returning players that benefited from last year’s experience and showed that confidence on the field. Bill Scovill, Nick Mayo, and Anthony Bruno along with Andrew Gentile played vital roles in leading the Naugatuck team to the league championship.
“What this team had this year was the confidence to come back from a deficit,” Plasky said. “We trailed Seymour this season and came back and left them on the field. Against Watertown we were down by three in our last at bat and came back to win the game.”
Plasky continued, “We did it with solid, timely hitting and with the ability to put our bats on the ball and move runners into scoring position. We had a strong pitching staff and played good defense in the field. They are only going to get better as we move into the fall season.”
Naugatuck drafted players Justin Guerrera, Josh Zemaitis, Dominic Santopietro, Mike Cipriano, Nick Crudele, and Elias DeJesus to play in the regional tournament.
Naugatuck earned a bye heading into the regional tournament and went 3-2 in the double elimination tournament. Naugatuck split a pair of games against eventual champion Seymour before getting eliminated.
Seymour advanced to play in the American Amateur Baseball Congress Sandy Koufax (13-14 year-old) World Series in Bartlesville, Okla. Naugatuck players Fran Phelan and Steve Marinaro were drafted by Seymour to play in the World Series.
On Sunday, with the help of Phelan and Marinaro, Seymour won the World Series championship by defeating Puerto Rico 8-7.