NAUGATUCK — As opening day approaches for the Naugatuck baseball team, the next week could be extremely valuable.
The Greyhounds, who had 11 seniors on their roster last year, were scheduled to play five exhibition games from March 26-30. Those games should produce a lot of information for Naugy head coach Tom Deller.
As with most practices and preseason games, especially with a young team, Deller said fundamentals have been stressed thus far.
“The main thing we’re preaching is that at the varsity level every play matters,” Deller said.
Naugy’s 11-10 finish last year with a first-round exit in the state tournament is in the rear view mirror, Deller said. Looking ahead, the Greyhounds are looking for many fresh faces to play a full varsity season.
With so many younger players in the mix, the scrimmages will go a long way to dictate a lineup and pitching rotation, Deller said.
“We have a lot of opportunities for kids to play,” Naugy’s longtime coach said.
The team has at least six pitchers that have a chance for time on the mound: seniors Drin Mehmedi and Chris Sheedy, juniors Adam Tavares, Ricky Plasky and John Dean, and a sophomore, Spencer Dreher.
Dean, along with junior Kyle Plasky and sophomore Jason Bradley, look to be the primary catchers.
In the outfield, senior Dennis Murphy, along with juniors Keith Daisy, Kevin Mariano, Jason Szarzynski and sophomore Josh Aviles will be the main options.
The infield will have the most experience with seniors Matt Bradley and Scott Sill up the middle, along with Kyle Plasky and Jason Bradley. At the corners, Tavares, Dreher, Travis Wyant and Evan Pelliccia will all have a chance to get some innings.
Deller said hitting has been a positive sign during the early-season workouts.
“We’ve been hitting the ball well,” Deller said. “Even though it’s very early, that’s a good sign.”
The Greyhounds will be doing all of their hitting and pitching in games on the road this season. Due to construction work on the playing fields at the high school, Naugy will play every game away from home.
Naugy opens the season April 3 at Wolcott and April 5 at Holy Cross.