Post 17 drops back-to-back heartbreakers

NAUGATUCK — Things were looking up for the Naugatuck American Legion baseball team after a season-opening loss. But after back-to-back wins, Post 17 suffered two crushing defeats, the second coming in extra innings.

After rainouts on Tuesday and Wednesday, Naugy (2-3) returned home Thursday and lost 1-0 to Bethel in eight innings. Bethel scored the game’s only run on a bunt single by Cole Strang, who drove in Kyle Platt.

“I thought we played a clean baseball game,” Naugatuck coach Mark Nofri said of the loss. “Nate Deptula pitched very well and we made no errors. We just couldn’t get the timely hits.  We had the bases loaded in the fourth inning and couldn’t get any runs across.”

It was Naugy’s second 1-0 loss of the season. Deptula went 7 1/3 innings, striking out six and allowing just four total baserunners. Zach Bedryczuk produced the only hit for Post 17.

“We have been hitting the ball hard,” Nofri said. “We are not striking out a lot. We just haven’t been getting those timely hits.”

The loss to Bethel followed a 5-3 loss to Danbury Sunday. After giving up four runs in the top of the first, Post 17 responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. But Naugatuck could not get another run across the rest of the game.

Naugy’s first five batters notched a hit. Derrick Jagello belted a two-run double in the first to cut the deficit to one. Jagello also settled down on the mound after a four-run first, pitching 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and striking out nine.

“In that game against Danbury, we probably hit the ball hard two or three times and they just made amazing plays,” Nofri said. “Teams have gotten those timely plays and we haven’t.”

Naugatuck picked up its second win of the season with a 7-4 victory over Bethel June 15. Trailing 3-1 heading into the fifth inning, seven Naugy batters reached base, producing four runs.

Jagello had two hits and two RBI. Justin Marks added two hits and two runs scored. Mark Nofri and Deptula also chipped in with RBI hits. Deptula got the win in five innings of relief.

The season is still young, but it will catch up on Naugatuck very quickly as they are set to play six games in seven days, starting Saturday against Washington.

Nofri said that he knows he has a talented team, but it is tough to be consistent because of player availability during the summer.

“A lot of games, we don’t have our full team,” Nofri said. “There is no consistency in our lineup.  In our win against Bethel, we had our full team. We just have to put behind us whatever happened. We are going to continue to grind out at-bats. We got plenty more games.”

Luckily for Naugatuck, most of the coming tough stretch will be at home. After hosting Washington, Post 17 will play Torrington on Sunday and a doubleheader against Oakville on Monday at home. From there, Post 17 travels to Shelton on Wednesday and Danbury on Thursday.