NAUGATUCK — The Greyhounds came out of the chute with a vengeance, and by the second week of the season they hung up 16 runs on Kennedy followed by a 15-run outing against Ansonia.
After that outburst in mid-April, the Greyhounds hit a stretch where they struggled to get the timely hit and put runs on the board.
Pitching bailed out the Greyhounds in recent shutout wins over Derby, 4-0, and Cromwell, 1-0, but they fell short to Holy Cross, 2-0, Watertown, 3-1.
“You can practice putting your bat on the ball in crucial situations all you want, but until you do it in a game we will continue to struggle,” said Naugatuck head coach Tom Deller without a hint of panic in his voice.
Scheduled to play six games in just over a week due to weather postponements, the road seems to go straight up hill for a team struggling to put their bat on the ball when it matters the most.
“The weather got us backed up and you can’t wait to play them because you don’t know what the weather is going to be like,” Deller said.
Naugatuck fell to Fairfield Ludlowe, 9-2, on the road Tuesday. Fairfield Ludlowe struck first with four runs in the second and didn’t look back.
On Wednesday, the Greyhounds got their offense going again with a 16-7 win over Waterbury Career.
Mike Plasky had a triple, a double, three RBI and scored three runs for Naugatuck. Steve Marinano had four hits and three RBI, and Derrick Jagello hit a double two singles and knocked in four runs.
The Greyhounds (7-6) began the week with a rare Sunday afternoon tilt with Woodland. Naugatuck couldn’t capitalize with runners in scoring position as Woodland won the game, 7-3.
Shane Swierbitowicz went 4 2/3 innings on the hill for Naugatuck but was victimized by a few errors that opened the door to disaster and a 5-1 deficit.
Mike Plasky came on and held the door shut as much as possible, but a two-out error in the field extended the sixth inning and the Hawks’ lead to 7-3.
“Once you begin struggling at the plate it creates pressure and you tend to make mistakes in the field and it just gets out of hand,” said Deller after the Woodland game. “That’s where we are at right now.
“Woodland is a very good team and they are executing very well right now. We just need to stay positive and just keep swinging the bat.”
Mike Natkiel scored the first Naugatuck run in the fourth to cut the deficit at 2-1. Then Woodland took advantage of a couple of controversial plays, which got both coaches storming out of the dugout, to grow the lead to 5-1.
Corey Plasky and Marinaro singled to open the bottom of the fifth. Joevanni Torres was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs when Swierbitowicz hit a sacrifice fly to bring in a run.
Zack Royka singled in the second run of the frame before a double play ended the scoring threat for the second time in the game. Naugy had the bases loaded and one out in the first when a line drive off the bat of Corey Plasky turned into an inning-ending double play.
The Greyhounds were held hitless over the final 2 2/3 innings.
On Monday, Naugatuck fell to Oxford, 8-0. Marinaro, Torres, Royka and Dominic Landolfi all had singles for Naugatuck.
Naugatuck has been getting good pitching efforts lately. Corey Plasky lost the heart-breaker to Holy Cross, and Torres went three solid innings and struck out four against Watertown.
Mike Plasky came on and gave 1 2/3 serviceable innings versus Watertown, but once again it was the lack of timely hitting that left the Greyhounds in the loss column.
The ‘Hounds outhit Watertown seven to five, but four errors in the field didn’t help their chances.
“It doesn’t help to give a team extra outs,” Deller said. “But we had our chances and we didn’t capitalize on the opportunities.”
Last Friday against Cromwell, Royka threw a six-hitter in the 1-0 win, and Jagello drove in the game’s only run in the top of the seventh.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the version that appears in the May 5 edition to include results through May 4.