NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck baseball team has clinched a spot in the Naugatuck Valley League and state tournaments for the fifth consecutive season.
The Greyhounds secured their bid to the league tournament exactly a week after qualifying for states with an 11-0 victory over Crosby (5-14) on Tuesday.
Shane Swierbitowicz tossed a two-hitter for the Greyhounds (13-6) in Tuesday’s win, striking out eight. Corey Plasky, Mark Nofri and Zack Royka had two singles each.
The victory followed another double-digit win Monday as Naugy defeated Seymour (11-9), 17-6. Steve Marinaro picked up his team-leading fourth victory on the mound, pitching four innings of shutout ball. Joevanni Torres was a triple shy of the cycle while Swierbitowicz added a home run of his own and three RBI.
The Greyhounds made it seven wins in a row with an 8-5 victory of St. Paul on Wednesday. Royka picked up the win on the mound by allowing only two hits in 3 2/3 innings of work.
Torres finished the game and struck out three Falcons and added three RBI at the plate. Mike Patton went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Naugatuck has outscored their opponents 67-22 over the win streak and scored ten or more runs in four of the games.
Plasky said the team has also grown closer over the winning streak, and certainly at the right time with the NVL tournament set to begin on Saturday.
“Before this little streak we were split as a team, we weren’t getting along and not having fun,” Plasky said. “We’ve been pitching really good and the hitting has finally come along. Honestly, I think the reason is we’ve finally come together and are having fun.”
Head coach Tom Deller has always talked to his teams about playing their best baseball in May, and it has certainly pleased him for this team to be streaking at the end of the season.
“We are certainly playing some good baseball,” Deller said. “There is nothing better than winning games in May and June.”
Naugatuck is fighting for seeding in the NVL tournament heading into the regular season fianel Friday at Torrington. Naugatuck (12-5 NVL) could finish as high as the fourth seed or as low as the eighth and last seed in the tournament.
The Greyhounds can also reach as high as the fifth seed in the Class LL tournament, which starts May 27, and were ranked ninth as of Tuesday.
Deller usually doesn’t pay too much attention to the standings but admitted he has been taking a look lately.
“A week ago, we were just talking about fighting for an eighth seed,” Deller said. “Then you start winning and you hear the chatter about us possibly even being the third seed. Then you start to pay more attention to those things.”
Plasky said that the team hasn’t looked as far ahead as the postseason but knows what is at stake.
“We’re aware we control our own destiny and have the opportunity to move up higher in the rankings, but we’re not worried about it or thinking about it,” Plasky said. “Just taking things one game at a time and not really looking forward to the future.”