NAUGATUCK — A season of ups and downs for the Naugatuck girls softball team culminated in Tuesday’s first round loss to Daniel Hand in the Class L tournament.
No. 25 Naugatuck fell to No. 8 Daniel Hand, 10-0.
Naugatuck (8-13) was trying to put an end to a trend of first-round losses in the state tournament that dates back to 2014. The last time the Greyhounds earned a postseason victory in the state tournament came in 2013, a 4-1 win over Hall.
“Obviously playing in the NVL tournament would have been a big advantage to get ready for the states,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “Unfortunately, we fell just short of that goal. But the girls were confident going into the states. We just ran into a very good Hand team, and we gave it everything we had.”
Naugatuck went into the season with six seniors to lead the way: captains Alexandra Langhans, Olivia Rotatori, Katie Jaroneczyk and Olivia Filanowski along with Katie Jones and Christina Caruso.
“The seniors approached the season with a positive attitude,” Wesche said. “We did lose a few big bats in the lineup. We had a new varsity pitcher and a good core of younger players who had to step up into bigger roles.”
Naugatuck began the season with sophomore pitcher Megan Schofield learning the ropes of varsity softball. Several other younger players filled up the lineup, including sophomores Hailey Deitlebaum and Shannon Burns and juniors Julia Pelliccia, Molly Kennedy, Aryana Powell, Briana Tavares and Jayla Piazza.
The Greyhounds would also like to put to rest another trend to rest next spring. The Greyhounds have had identical regular season records in consecutive years over the last six seasons.
They went 13-7 in 2011 and 2012, 14-6 in 2013 and 2014, and in 2015 and 2016 they went 11-9.
After an 8-12 regular season, Wesche is looking to reverse that trend and has the youth and experience to pull it off.
“A lot of the younger girls gained a lot of experience this year,” Wesche said. “Megan has learned to pitch at the varsity level, and even losing the six seniors I feel what we have coming back will give us a solid chance of getting back to competing with the tops teams in the league.
“Julia has proved to be a consistent hitter in the lineup. We are losing a lot of power with the graduation of Alexandra, but Molly has really come on late in the season and showed she can provide power.”
Wesche said it will all come down to how much work the Greyhounds put in this summer.
“The experience they get during the travel ball season will tell the difference in us getting back to the NVL tournament and the states next season,” he said.