After opening win, bats fall silent for Greyhounds

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Naugatuck’s Melissa LaBonte fouls off a bunt attempt Monday at Watertown. PHOTO BY KEN MORSE
WATERTOWN — The Naugatuck softball team played its fourth game in six days on Monday and that might have struck the bottom of the tank so early in the season. In an eerie fashion, Naugatuck surrendered 11 hits, committed 11 errors and ultimately lost an 11-1 decision to Watertown on April 11.

No. 11 was an unlucky number indeed in the Greyhounds’ third-straight loss of the season.

“That is a very good team,” said Watertown coach Keith Borkowski, who’s in his 21st season. “It’s hard to explain something like that. It’s so early in the season and teams are still trying to find themselves.

“We were absolutely terrible against Seymour last week and then came back and played the best we have played all season,” Borkowski continued. “So I wouldn’t put too much stock into one game. We took advantage of our opportunities and our defense played flawlessly.”

Naugatuck came into the season looking for someone to step up offensively after losing the top four hitters in the lineup to graduation. The four senior captains stepped up in an 8-1, season-opening win over Derby.

Daniella Stoehrer had a hit and two runs scored, Melissa LaBonte had two hits and one RBI and Melissa Kirschbaum added two RBIs in the victory. But the biggest bat in the lineup belonged to the fourth senior captain Lianne Wallace who ripped a grand slam, finishing with two hits and five RBIs.

Since then the bats have grown silent as Naugatuck dropped a heartbreaker to Torrington, 1-0, as the Raiders scored in their final at-bat while holding the Greyhounds to just three hits.

On Saturday, Naugatuck trailed Norwich Free Academy by a 2-1 deficit when the home team plated two runs in its final turn at the plate to pull out a 4-1 win over the ‘Hounds, who were held to six hits.

A two-out error opened the door on Monday in Watertown as the Indians took advantage with a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Naugatuck plated a run in the second when Erica Bohuski drew a leadoff walk and later scored when Alexa Marucci unloaded a bomb that sailed over the center fielder’s head for a two-out double.

After that, though, the wheels came off the wagon. Watertown had runners at second and third with one out when Marucci induced an infield popup that fell for an error.

Marucci came back to strike out the next batter, which would have been the final out of the frame. Instead Watertown cashed in on the opportunity when Nikki Hodorowski slammed a two-run single just over the outstretched glove of Bohuski at second base.
Later, an outfield error scored two more runs as the Indians went ahead, 6-1.

“It may be my fault for scheduling four games in six days,” Naugatuck coach Kevin Wesche said. “I figured we would rather be playing games than practicing but you could see that we looked like a team that hadn’t practiced in a while. We will come back tomorrow and go back to practice and try to get everyone back on the same page.”

While Naugatuck was having its troubles in the field, the ‘Hounds couldn’t get much going at the plate, managing just three hits.

Two more dropped balls on popups helped to fuel a three-run outburst in the Indians’ fourth inning pushing the advantage to 9-1.

Vikki Thomas and Cate Lucewicz connected on back-to-back run-scoring doubles in the gap to account for most of the damage.

Gillian Fortier rocked a double in the top of the sixth but was left stranded as Naugatuck couldn’t close the gap.

The Greyhounds were scheduled to host Crosby on Wednesday before traveling to Wolcott on Friday.