NAUGATUCK — Before the season started, Naugatuck head baseball coach Tom Deller expressed more concern about the Greyhounds’ performance at the plate than he did about their effort on the mound or in the field.
“We talk about it, that offense is going to be the key,” Deller said. “We lack consistency. Pitching and defense is what carries us, and with a little bit of hitting, we can be competitive.”
Naugatuck showed signs of life at the plate to go along with some struggles to start the season.
The Greyhounds opened the season March 30 with a 1-0 win over Cromwell. Nate Deptula pitched 6 2/3 innings of five-hit shutout ball, striking out five to earn the win.
Derrick Jagello drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning to score Derek Sampaio for the only run the ‘Hounds needed, but it was hardly the offensive support Deller’s looking for this season.
The Greyhounds got that support at the plate in their next game, a 27-0 win over Wilby on April 2.
Zack Royka supplied the biggest at bat against the Wildcats with a grand slam, and Mark Nofri scored three runs to pace the Greyhounds’ offensive attack. Royka and Ryan McCarthy teamed up on the hill to shut out the Wildcats.
Playing their second game out of the Naugatuck Valley League, the Greyhounds held a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning April 3 against Fairfield Ludlowe, before Fairfield Ludlowe battled back to earn a 16-5 win.
Nofri had two hits, including a double, to pace Naugatuck’s (2-1) offense. Sampaio and Mike Patton added key hits to put Naugy out in front, and Deptula went four innings on the mound.
Jagello, Royka and Jon Chatfield took their turns on the hill, but Ludlowe managed to pull ahead for the win.
“At this early in the season you are watching pitch counts, and Nate had 90 against Cromwell so we didn’t want to push the issue against Fairfield,” Deller said. “I thought we had a pretty good shot with the lead in the fourth, but it just didn’t work out.”
“The whole idea is to try and get better every game,” Deller added. “If you want to get better you need to face the teams like Fairfield.”
The Greyhounds are scheduled to play Seymour on Wednesday. Naugatuck will travel to Deland Field in Watertown on Friday to face the Indians.