Greyhounds beginning to peak


Naugatuck pitcher Rich Pimental is coming off his best performance Monday against St. Paul as the Greyhounds are beginning to hit their stride on the diamond. –FILE PHOTO

BRISTOL — Naugy’s 1-0 loss at St. Paul on Monday afternoon belied an important fact — the Greyhounds are improving.

While there’s still the distinction between winning and losing, the ‘Hounds are making progress.  Entering Wednesday’s game against Derby, Naugatuck is 7-6 overall and in respectable position.

St. Paul’s Kyle Dube pitched a complete-game shutout and overpowered Naugy on Monday afternoon. However, Naugy coach Tom Deller pointed to the positives.

“We keep talking about playing well at the right time,” Deller said.

That time is fast approaching. After Monday’s game, the ‘Hounds had seven games left in the regular season.

One notable development out of Monday’s game was the performance of Rich Pimental, who went the distance for Naugy and allowed only one earned run against the Falcons, who stand at 9-4 on the year. Pimental threw strikes throughout and scattered eight hits.

Deller said Pimental has continued to work on his pregame preparation. And it seemed to pay off on Monday for Naugy’s primary No. 2 starter.

“I look at this start as a step forward,” Pimental said. He said that he has spent more time warming up prior to the game in his last two starts.

“That was Richie’s best outing by far,” Deller said.

The combination of Adam Neveski, Ryan White, and Pimental has allowed two runs over the last two games (14 innings). That includes a 7-1 win over Ansonia in which Neveski and White combined on a two-hitter.

On Monday, the Greyhounds didn’t commit an error for the first time this season, and their defense kept them in the game.

Center fielder Nolan Kinne robbed several St. Paul hitters of extra-base hits. Kinne made six putouts in the game and grabbed running catches to end rallies in the second and fourth.

“The game could have been a lot different if he doesn’t make those catches,” St. Paul coach Pat Holden said of Kinne’s outfield play.

Catcher Zac Mercer made two standout plays behind the plate. Mercer caught a foul pop-up while crashing into the fence to end a sixth-inning rally.

In the fifth, Mercer popped up from behind the dish to grab a bunt attempt along the third baseline. Pat Raymond was called out at first, but the call was overturned.

Kyle Lopes also made several nice plays at short, while White and Jon Bisson were also solid in the outfield.

“This is definitely an improvement,” Deller said of the defense.

Kinne summed up the team’s approach over the final two weeks of the schedule and the postseason.

“We just want to keep improving and get better,” Kinne said.