Opportunities slip by Greyhounds

Naugatuck centerfielder Mike Patton catches a fly ball while avoiding a collision with teammate Mark Nofri (5) versus Watertown at Deland Field in Watertown on May 10. -BILL SHETTLE/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — Fighting for the final spot in the Naugatuck Valley League tournament, the Naugatuck baseball team had opportunities to make up ground playing several teams that were ahead of them in the standings.

The task was not an easy one with games stacked on top of each other due to weather cancellations, and the ‘Hounds fell short of their goal.

Naugy began last week with a with 9-2 loss to Wolcott but bounced back with a 7-4 win over Torrington, which was also fighting for the last NVL spot, the next day.

Zack Royka went 5 1/3 innings on the hill, scattering three hits and one run while striking out seven against Torrington.

“Torrington was the team we were chasing for that number eight spot and we got it done,” Naugatuck head coach Tom Deller said. “Unfortunately, we came up short against everyone else. It’s been our story for the year.”

Derrick Jagello had three hits, including two doubles, scored twice and drove in a run to pace the offensive attack. Mike Patton came through with two hits and two RBI.

The Greyhounds then suffered back-to-back losses against Woodland, 5-2, last Wednesday and Watertown, 10-3, last Thursday.

Royka had four hits in the loss to the Hawks, while Patton continued to swing a hot bat adding two hits with two runs scored.

The Greyhounds had trouble staying with the Indians. Joe Deptula had an RBI double, and Mike Natkiel had a productive day at the plate with a double, a triple and two RBI.

The loss put Naugy’s aspirations of making the postseason in doubt.

“It seems like we never got into a good flow this season,” Deller said. “The weather has been an issue even trying to practice outside, and then you go a couple of weeks in a row having to play four games a week and it’s taken its toll.”

On Monday, Naugy fell to Seymour, 9-2. Patton had two hits. Derek Sampaio had a single, a double and one RBI for Naugatuck.

Naugatuck got back in the win column on Wednesday with a 13-0 victory over Crosby in five innings.

Mike Plasky allowed two hits with seven strikeouts over five against the Bulldogs. Jagello had two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. Nick Bruno added a two-run double. Mike Patton and Mark Nofri each had three hits, three runs scored and an RBI.

Naugatuck improved to 7-11 with the win and got to within one game of making the state tournament with two games left to play.

Heading into the Crosby game, Deller said the team is capable of securing a spot in the postseason.

“Oxford beat Seymour and we beat Oxford,” Deller said. “It’s not like we didn’t have the opportunity to get it done. We have three games left, and if we want to continue playing in the postseason we need to put our big boy pants on and go out there and play the way we are capable of.”

Naugatuck is scheduled to finish the regular season with a double-header on Thursday at home against Crosby and Cromwell.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the article that appears in the May 18 print edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on games played after press time through May 16.