NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck softball team headed into senior night on Tuesday needing one more win to qualify for the Class L state tournament. The Greyhounds made the most of their last chance earning a 15-0 win over Crosby.
Bidding farewell to seniors Alexandra Langhans, Olivia Rotatori, Katie Jaroneczyk, Olivia Filanowski, Christina Caruso and Katie Jones, the Greyhounds struck early with four runs in the first, two in the second and three in the third to open up a comfortable 9-0 advantage.
“I think the offense struggled a little bit at the start of the season,” Jaroneczyk said. “We are making more solid contact now and that has helped us to stay in games with some of the top teams in the league.”
Molly Kennedy homered for the second game in a row. She had four hits total and drove in six runs to pace the offense. Langhans belted five hits with two doubles good for five RBI and three runs scored.
Megan Schofield, a sophomore, threw six shutout innings scattering four hits and striking out nine batters while delivering three hits at the plate to help the Greyhounds to victory.
“It was so important to the development of this team that some of the younger players stepped up,” Filanowski said. “We lost so many talented seniors the last two years we had some big holes to fill.”
The Greyhounds (8-12) made sure they were headed to the postseason as they tacked on three more runs in the fifth and sixth innings as the offense broke out for 18 hits. Jones and Caruso had a hit and a run. Julia Pelliccia and Jayla Piazza each scored four runs with Hailey Detielbaum adding a run.
Jaroneczyk with a double and an RBI and Rotatori with two hits, two RBI and a run scored finished off the Greyhounds’ attack.
“We have definitely come a long way from where we started,” Rotatori said. “We are still not at the point where we want to be. Sometimes we doubt our own abilities, but we need to start believing that we are on par with some of those top teams.”
The Greyhounds just missed out on qualifying for the NVL tournament, but have shown they can play with the top teams in the league.
On Monday, Naugy took on Seymour (16-1) and put up a battle before falling short, 9-5. Kennedy belted a home run and a single to spark the Greyhounds. Pelliccia delivered three hits for Naugatuck.
“We have had kind of an up-and-down season,” Langhans said. “I think if our offense was a little more consistent a few of those losses could have ended up in the win column.”
Over the past few weeks, Holy Cross (16-1) squeaked out a 9-7 win over Naugy and Oxford (11-5) had to hang for a 7-6 win.
“Every time we played some of those top teams it seemed like we were always one or two plays away,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “It seemed like we were always knocking at the door but couldn’t get that timely hit and stranded a lot of runners on base.”
“We started to come on about half way through the season,” Wesche added. “That is when we started to be more competitive especially against the top teams in the league. Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and do some damage in the states and pick up a few more wins.”
The Greyhounds will now wait until May 26 when pairings are announced for the Class L tournament to see who they will play next.