NAUGATUCK — With the end of the high school season in sight, summer baseball is in full swing.
The Post 17 senior American Legion team contends for a state playoff bid every year, but it has been tough most years to get past Oakville or Waterbury in Zone 5.
However, manager Ron Plasky, the former Naugatuck High assistant coach in his first year at the helm of Post 17, has confidence this year’s team can contend in the zone with the roster it has in place.
Post 17 players can now live in Naugatuck, Prospect, Beacon Falls or Seymour, and players from each town are teaming up for this summer.
Naugatuck returns several former high school players who now play college ball, including former Naugatuck High players Corey Plasky (UConn Avery Point) and Steve Marinaro (Post University), former Woodland player Jarrett Allen (University of Hartford), and former Holy Cross player Chris Flynn (Roger Williams University).
Post 17 also returns multiple players with over a year of varsity high school experience, including Naugatuck’s Derrick Jagello, Mark Nofri and Zack Royka, and DJ Kirpas, who played varsity for Seymour High this year.
“We have a very good group,” Plasky said. “We have a lot of guys who played Legion last year and a lot of varsity experience. Mark Nofri had a good year for Naugy this spring. Zack Royka was an All-NVL player. Chris Flynn will be huge for us because he is a No. 1 pitcher. Nate Deptula will be a good pitcher for us this year. Right now, we have a 14-man roster and I would say that 12 of them can pitch for us.”
Post 17 is scheduled to open the season Saturday at 12 p.m. against Oakville at Naugatuck High School.
While Naugatuck has a very competitive roster, a common obstacle for all Legion teams every summer is fielding a team of nine players due to scheduling conflicts. In a season with at least four games a week and some weekends with three games, obligations like jobs, vacations and summer classes can make it difficult to field nine players consistently.
“For us, it is not so much who we have, it’s who shows up,” Plasky said. “It is the summertime and things come up. It is an unfortunate thing.”
Plasky pointed out that a lot of players on the roster are committed to baseball. There are the college players working on their game as well as the high schoolers who have had successful baseball careers so far.
“For some of these guys, it’s baseball 12 months a year,” Plasky said. “It is a unique situation when we have this many players committed to baseball.”
That gives Plasky confidence that Post 17 will compete in a zone that also includes Bethel, Shelton, Danbury and new member Washington, which is joined by players from New Milford.