NAUGATUCK — Not too long Woodland was starting an uphill battle at 3-9 and Naugatuck was sitting comfortable at 9-5. Now, it appears that the momentum has shifted to Woodland as the Hawks put together a four-game win streak to keep their state tournament aspirations alive while the Greyhounds dropped three in a row after winning seven of their last eight.
The two teams met Monday in Naugatuck for round two of the 2016 campaign. The Hawks completed a two-game sweep of the season series as they took down Naugatuck, 9-6, in a game that got a bit exciting in the late innings.
After adding one more run in the top of the seventh, Woodland held a 9-6 lead heading into the Greyhounds’ last chance at the plate. A Corey Plasky walk loaded the bases for Steve Marinaro. With two outs and the bases loaded, Woodland was able to hold on after a strikeout of Marinaro ended the game.
Woodland coach Mike Kingsley acknowledged that the rivalry between Woodland and Naugatuck added a little something extra to the game, but said the Hawks played Naugy just like they would any other team.
“Whenever Woodland and Naugy play, there is always a lot of adrenaline flowing,” Kingsley said. “But where we are in this season to this point, it is one game at a time, trying to get a postseason berth.”
Naugy didn’t get off to a good start Monday. The Greyhounds allowed five runs in the first two innings, including a three-run homerun by Woodland’s Jared Grillo in the top of the first.
After a short stint on the mound for Marinaro, Mike Plasky came in to attempt to stop the bleeding. However, Woodland continued to hit and scored four more runs in the final five innings.
Plasky felt he could have limited the damage better in that difficult situation.
“I could have hit my spots a little more,” Plasky said. “I left a couple of pitches over the plate.”
Naugy didn’t take the night off at the plate. The Greyhounds had 13 hits of their own, but left a man on third base in three innings Monday night.
Corey Plasky led the way with three hits, including a double, two singles, and a run. Devan Aviles and Zac Royka also chipped in with two hits.
Aviles could have found more hits but he lined out to left early in the game, which made him a bit frustrated since the Hawks were finding holes.
“It is frustrating but there is nothing you can do about it,” said Aviles
Woodland’s offense ended up putting too much pressure on the Greyhounds. Matt Butterworth (four), Grillo (two), and Colby Linnell (two) combined for eight hits and led the way for the Hawks.
Naugatuck is fighting for an NVL tournament seed following a 5-0 loss to Torrington on Tuesday. The Greyhounds (9-8) were shut out for just the second time this season and held to just six hits.
“I think we have to come together and stop worrying about ourselves,” Aviles said Monday. “If we play as a team, we will put ourselves in a better position to win games.”
After an 8-6 win over Seymour on Tuesday, Woodland improved to 7-9 and has momentum on its side to secure a state tournament berth. Tyler Bosivert, the winning pitcher in Monday’s game at Naugy, had a double and two RBI while Jarret Allen had two doubles and two RBI of his own versus Seymour.
Kingsley said that a tourney berth should be no problem if the Hawks play like they did against Naugatuck on Monday.
“Going forward, we have been out in front several times this year and haven’t continued to put pressure on opponents,” Kingsley said. “[Monday night], we scored early and were able to tack on some runs as we went along. That is something, if we keep doing, that will propel us to a tourney berth.”
The Hawks will play Watertown on Wednesday and Wolcott on Thursday. Woodland will finish the regular season next week against Torrington May 17 and Coginchaug May 18.
The Greyhounds will play Wilby on Wednesday. Naugatuck will finish the regular season next week against Wolcott May 16 and Watertown May 19.