NAUGATUCK — The dog days of August have arrived about four weeks ahead of time as the region has been sweltering in the second heat wave of the summer. But the Naugatuck American Legion Post 17 senior baseball team has been heating up with the weather.
Naugatuck enjoyed its most productive week of the season, picking up three wins and improving to 4-9.
Last Wednesday, Naugatuck split a doubleheader with New Milford, winning the opener, 7-6, in 10 innings. Post 17 earned another nail-biter the next day coming back from a deficit to defeat Monroe, 5-4. Last Friday, Naugatuck was all over Ansonia in an 11-1 victory.
“We are starting to put it together,” coach Bob Dibble said. “Six of our losses have been by one run, including a game last week that was reported as forfeited but it was actually a tough, 3-2 loss to Monroe.”
Naugatuck felt the sting of another one-run defeat as Post 17 was left on the field on Saturday as Ansonia plated the winning run with two outs and two strikes on the batter. Orlando Morales belted a triple to score Johan Perez with the game-winner.
On Sunday, Naugatuck dropped a doubleheader to Danbury, losing the first game 8-6 with Tyler Lafo and Charles Healy splitting the mound duties. Naugatuck wasted a superb, seven-inning effort from Matt Zahornasky in the nightcap as it lost, 4-3. Zahornasky also had three hits in the loss.
“We came up with a couple of one-run decisions ourselves to help us turn it around a bit,” Dibble said. “The guys brought me back in from the ledge. They are working hard and battling through this. I can’t ask for a better effort than what they are giving.”
Naugatuck brought up three players from the junior team and according to Dibble, John Dean, Chris Anderson and Mike D’Agnone all contributed to the team’s success last week.
Dean got a start against New Milford and went 3 2/3 innings on the hill. Karl Johansen worked 2 1/3 innings in relief with Lafo finishing off the last four innings to pick up the win.
Tim Cronin came on to score the winning run when Johansen was hit by the pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Adam Neveski went the distance in the 5-4 win over Monroe. Naugatuck trailed, 2-0, but plated five runs in the sixth on consecutive hits from Johansen, Kyle Lopes and Zac Mercer.
Mike Burns threw a complete game in the 11-1 win over Ansonia. Anderson and Cronin had two hits each while Neveski’s triple and Lopes’ double were the key run-scoring hits.
Ryan White went the distance and deserved a better fate in the tough, last-at-bat loss to Ansonia on Saturday. Burns belted three hits but Naugatuck was missing the timely hit to get the win.
“That was a rough stretch of eight games in six days,” Dibble said. “If we can come up with a timely hit here and there we could have added a few more in the win column. We get a little break now as we don’t play again until Thursday. Maybe the rest will do us some good and we can put up a few more in the win column.”