Dogs capture elusive title  

Ryan Russell, left, of the Naugy Dogs, slides into home plate ahead of a tag by Tri-Town catcher Bobby Smith during a Tri-State League World Series game Aug. 23 at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury. -DEVIN LEITH-YESSIAN/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

The Tri-State League has gone to the Dogs. Literally.

After several years of near misses, the Naugy Dogs captured the Tri-State World Series last week with an 8-4 win over Tri-Town to sweep the best-of-three showdown.

“It’s a good feeling,” Dogs manager Jay Harlamon said. “I’m proud of the guys. We’ve been together a long time, and they really are a good team.”

The Dogs suffered near misses in 2016 and 2013 in the best-of-three finals, but last week they were best-in-show. It was the offense that sparked the sweep.

Naugy had 14 hits last Wednesday, and its hitters picked up starter Lance Stevens, who gave up two runs in the first and settled down to earn the win.

Kyle Murphy, Ryan Plourde, Macky Cianciolo and Jeff Rustico each had multiple hits and produced runs. Murphy delivered the go-ahead, two-run double in the third.

“We got Lance a lead, and he took it from there,” Harlamon added. “Lance has been with us for eight years, and he’s one of those guys that other teams respect.”

A night before the clincher, the Dogs scored 13 runs in a victory over Tri-Town.  The hot bats couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We’ve been hitting for power, hitting home runs, extra base hits and getting timely hits,” Harlamon said. “Top to bottom, there isn’t an easy out in our lineup.”

In game one, the Dogs took a 7-0 lead. Sean Miller-Jones led off the first with a homer, and Kyle and Devin Murphy hit back-to-back homers to give Naugy a quick-hitting 4-0 lead in the first.

Naugy Dog Manager Jay Harlaman holds the Tri-State World Series trophy for the first time after his team won at Waterbury Municipal Stadium on Aug. 23. -DEVIN LEITH-YESSIAN/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

In the next inning, Kyle Murphy and Devin Murphy had RBI doubles. Kevin Murray earned the win for the Dogs.

Harlamon credited the team with their spirit. The team was knocked out of the state tournament, and bounced back from two losses in a game three of the Tri-State World Series.

They lost to Tri-Town earlier this season, and turned it around at the right time. With a smaller roster than most teams in the league, this tight-knit group came together to earn a title.

“The main fiber and characteristic of this team is that they’re competitive,” Harlamon said.  “They fully expect to win every game they play. They take loses hard and have the ability to bounce back.”

The Republican-American contributed to this article.