NAUGATUCK — Every other year since 2009, the Greyhounds have packed their bags during spring vacation and settled in at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. for six days of softball, sightseeing and building team bonds.
Naugatuck softball head coach Kevin Wesche uses the trip to Disney to help build team camaraderie.
“We started out just playing scrimmages,” Wesche said. “But there were so many teams from Connecticut and the NVL down there we started to incorporate a few games into our regular season schedule.”
On April 8, the team headed down to Florida for the program’s fifth trip to Disney World. This year, the Greyhounds played Windsor and Torrington in Florida.
“It really is a great way for the team to bond and to have fun as well taking a day at all the parks in Disney,” Wesche said.
The bonding experience goes beyond the 14 softball players who made the trip, it also helps the parents bond since they sit shoulder to shoulder cheering on their daughters over the course of the season.
“Between the coaches, players and parents we had 41 in our group,” Wesche said. “This really gives the girls an opportunity to do other things outside of softball and really get to know one another. Katie Jones tried that show the Fear Factor and came in second place. It allows the girls to do fun stuff instead of practicing and playing softball all the time.”
Naugatuck played scrimmages against teams from New York as well as the two games against Windsor and Torrington. The Greyhounds lost both games, but that hardly put a damper on the trip.
“I think it helps the younger girls because they can just go out there and have fun and not be trying to impress anyone,” senior Alexandra Langhans said. “It really helps the team to relax and come together.”
“The whole purpose of the trip is to bond as a team,” senior Olivia Rotatori added. “We are not focusing on the pressures of winning and losing, we are more focused on coming together as a team.”
The Greyhounds began the season with a solid win over Kennedy and then fell into a slump. They dropped the next game by a wide margin to Trumbull. Two losses in Florida and a 9-2 loss to Wolcott on Saturday back in Connecticut gave the team an opportunity to see how that bonding experience would play out.
Naugatuck pulled together and got back in the win column on Monday with a 9-0 victory over Ansonia. Megan Schofield fired a two-hitter for the Greyhounds. She struck out 15 batters to keep the Chargers in check.
“Not only does a trip like this help us to come together as a team it helps us to start building confidence in each other,” said sophomore Hailey Deitelbaum about the Disney trip. “Sharing that experience together really helped us to get to know one another and during the season it will help us to pick each other up.”
The Greyhounds’ bats felt that confidence in the win over Ansonia.
Langhans led the way with a home run, a double and a single, good for four RBI. Rotatori belted a triple and scored two runs with Julia Pelliccia getting three hits and one RBI. Jayla Piazza added three hits, an RBI and two runs scored.
“I think a trip like this has taught us to relax and just take it one game at a time,” said Piazza, a junior. “Just think about the next play and what you can do to help the team and not how the team can help you.”
Naugatuck dropped to 2-5 on the year with a 9-7 loss to Holy Cross on Wednesday. Langhans had two home runs and RBI, and Molly Kennedy had a solo-home run and two RBI to pace the offense. Schofield struck out six batters.
The Greyhounds will be at Wolcott on Friday.
This story has been updated from the version that appears in the April 21 print edition to include results through April 19.