Dogs hand Blaze first loss, prepare for states

NAUGATUCK — The Naugy Dogs baseball team finished up the Tri-State League regular season in dramatic fashion.

The Dogs gave the first-place Watertown Blaze its first loss of the season in an 8-3 victory in 14 innings Sunday. Lance Stevens picked up the win, pitched six innings in relief, allowed three hits and struck out five to lead the Dogs.

“We huddled before the game and said this game was all about us,” Dogs manager Jay Harlamon. “We were able to break through in the 14th inning.”

Naugy completed the regular season 16-2, one game behind Watertown in the standings and earned a bye in the state tournament. Naugy will play either the Bristol Greeners or Torrington Rebels in the second round, which is scheduled to begin July 31.

Stevens had pitched seven innings two days before the Watertown game in a 2-1 win over Torrington. He relieved Jeff Sturm, who kept the Blaze in check for the first eight innings. Sturm also added three hits in the victory over Watertown.

After Watertown scored three in the second, the Dogs were able to score against one of the deepest and most talented pitching staffs in the league.

“Watertown is a really good team with a ton of pitching,” Harlamon said.

Naugy completed the regular season leading the league in runs scored and run differential. And in the top of the fourth, the offense came alive.

Ryan Plourde had an RBI double in the fourth, followed by RBI singles from Macky Cianciolo and Trent Levi. Plourde also started the rally in the 14th.

Plourde and Devin Murphy each singled to start off the top of the 14th and scored on a Lance Stevens RBI fielder’s choice. The Dogs added three more runs on a Christian Cuevas sac fly and a Sean Miller-Jones two-run single.

Stevens allowed three hits and struck out five. The Naugy defense also came through with key double plays.

“This is a really, really good win for us for a regular season game,” Harlamon said. “We’re going to see the same type of competition night in and night out in the state tournament.”

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