Top spot in reach

Post 17 among leaders in Zone 5

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

NAUGATUCK — With the American Legion baseball state tournament a week away, the top spot in Zone 5 is within Naugatuck Post 17’s reach.

Post 17 heads into the regular-season finale in a rather unique situation.

Naugatuck is scheduled to close out the regular season at Shelton on Sunday. Post 17 (15-8) is in second place in Zone 5, half a game behind first-place Oakville (14-6). Bethel (13-8) and Waterbury (13-8-1) are tied for the third spot.

While Naugatuck only has one game left to play, Oakville has four games left on the schedule and Bethel has three more. So, Naugy has to sit back and hope for other teams to beat Oakville to climb up to first place. A win against Shelton and a loss by Bethel or two losses by Bethel will clinch second place for Naugatuck.

Post 17 manager Ron Plasky said the time for the team to control its own destiny passed, as there have been a few slipups this season that could have made the difference between first place and second place.

“We’ve taken care of what we can control and finishing second in this zone is nothing to be disappointed about,” Plasky said. “But last week we lost three in a row. I think that was the time for us to control our destiny and that might end up being the difference. Now, we just have to sit back and hope some of these other teams lose.”

Post 17 had a big game against Oakville on Tuesday. With Naugy trailing Oakville by a half a game, Oakville came out on top with a 6-3 victory to hold on to first place. Steve Marinaro went 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored for Naugatuck. Will McDonald added a hit and an RBI, and Jon Chatfield added two hits and two RBIs.

While it was a big loss for Naugy, Post 17 responded with victories against Bethel and Waterbury to hold on to second place.

In a 5-1 win against Waterbury on Wednesday, Corey Plasky and McDonald each had a hit and two runs scored while Austin Verab added three RBIs. Marinaro pitched a complete game, scattering just five hits and the one run.

Post 17 defeated Bethel 3-1 on Thursday. Derrick Jagello, Derrick Sampaio, and McDonald had two hits each while Plasky added a hit and a run scored. Jagello pitched a complete game, a two-hitter with seven strikeouts.

With those wins, Naugatuck finished with an 8-4 record against the three other top teams in the zone, splitting the season series with Bethel and Oakville while sweeping Waterbury.

Plasky said it was sometimes difficult to field the best starting nine each game due to summer conflicts, but he believes the team can compete with the best when he has a full roster.

“One thing I’m proud of is that in the game against Bethel (on Thursday), we didn’t have two starters,” Plasky said. “When we have our full roster, we can play with anybody and that is something I’ve been saying all year.”

Post 17 will gets it shot to compete with the best when the American Legion baseball state tournament starts July 21.