OXFORD — Despite some late-season struggles, the Naugatuck High baseball team earned its fourth straight appearance in the Naugatuck Valley League tournament.
No. 8 Naugatuck fell to No. 1 Oxford, 5-1, Saturday in the quarterfinals marking the fourth consecutive first-round loss in the tournament for the Greyhounds.
Corey Plasky took the mound for the Greyhounds (10-11) and kept Oxford (18-4) in check for most of the game. However, bad luck struck Plasky and the ‘Hounds when, in the fifth inning, a fly ball to deep right hit by Oxford’s John Yish hit the glove of outfielder Mark Nofri and went over the fence for a three-run home run, and gave Oxford a 4-1 lead over Naugy.
Plasky said the team played Oxford well and could have won if not for some untimely errors.
“We still played the top team in the NVL tough so we can compete with any team out there,” Plasky said. “If we can start fixing some of our errors we can start to win some ball games.”
Cole Chudoba was lights out for the Wolverines, allowing just two hits and one run with ten strikeouts.
Naugatuck took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second after Kyle Torok walked, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Mike Patton. The Greyhounds couldn’t cash in with runners in scoring position the rest of the game.
It was the Greyhounds’ fourth game this month being held to one run or less.
“I think our approach to the at-bat is the reason for our lack of hitting,” said Plasky, who took All-Iron division honors earlier this week. “We need to start taking advantage of those first-pitch fastballs down the middle of the plate instead of taking those pitches. We’re digging ourselves into a hole every at-bat and good pitchers are taking advantage of that.”
“We just need to get some timely hits with runners in scoring position,” Torok added. “Also, we aren’t getting productive outs in those situations and that is a huge reason why we aren’t scoring in spots like that.”
With a short-lived journey in the NVL tourney, Naugy turns its focus to the state tournament, which begins on May 31.
The ‘Hounds will likely pair up against a higher seed, which means that they will hit the road for their first round matchup. State tournament seedings and pairings will be released on Friday.
Naugatuck’s Devan Aviles, who finished the season batting .297 with 13 RBI, said despite being eliminated from the NVL tournament, the extra rest is good for the team, especially the pitchers.
“It feels good because everyone is going to be able to rest their arms,” Aviles said.