Greyhounds find a groove

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NAUGATUCK — After playing in the warmth of Orlando, Fla., the Naugatuck softball team returned to the borough late last week to some more fantastic weather. Just like the weather in Connecticut, coach Kevin Wesche’s team is starting to get hot as the halfway point of the season draws near.

The Greyhounds (3-3) have won three of their last four games after dropping the first two. The one thing that has stayed consistent for Wesche’s squad is the offense.

The Greyhounds scored five or more runs in every game except for one, and they scored four in that game. Wesche said the team’s success at the plate is due to aggressiveness.

“In order to keep on the winning ways, we need to continue to be aggressive at the plate and on the bases, putting pressure on the defense,” Wesche said. “This has enabled us to create or manufacture runs and come out on top.”

Seniors Erika Andreoli, Shannon Searles, Kara Klimaszewski, and Jenna Miller, along with sophomore Alexandra Langhans and junior Jenna Massicotte have all been consistent hitters for the Greyhounds.

All of these girls showed up last Friday in a 15-0 victory against Crosby. Klimaszewski and Andreoli each had three hits and two runs, while Searles had more RBI (five) than Crosby had hits (four). Langhans, Miller, and Massicotte also chipped in with a hit.

Naugy came back the next day to pick up a 7-5 victory at East Hartford. Klimaszewski again had three hits, while Massicotte had two hits and three RBI. Langhans also had two hits and Andreoli added two RBI.

Miller also picked up the W on the mound in both games.

This much success at the plate is not a surprise to Wesche. He said he has been teaching the key to effective hitting since day one, which is swinging the bat early in the count.

“Offensively we utilize a multitude of drills to become better at pitch recognition and being ahead,” Wesche explained. “We try not to let the opposing pitcher get up on the count where they can throw a lot of junk to keep us off balance. Batters one through nine have been hitting the ball hard putting pressure on the defense to make plays. We don’t generally strike out often as we make solid contact.”

One thing that is a surprise to Wesche is the continued improvement of two very important seniors.

“The improvement in Sandra Dinis and Lauren Burns in their plate productivity has been a pleasure,” Wesche said.

Dinis has been swinging the hot stick as of late. She had two hits in their first win of the season against Wolcott and she has had three hits in each of the past two games. Burns has driven in a run in each of the past two games to go along with three combined hits.

Wesche’s whole lineup has been very productive. But, he said, his defense, which has made at least two errors in three of their last four games (four errors against Wolcott), needs to improve, especially in neutralizing the lead runner on base.

“Our defense needs to be more consistent at stopping the lead runner when possible,” Wesche said.

Despite their defensive woes, the Greyhounds have been on a bit of a roll now and will look to continue that as they enter the final two weeks of April.

The Greyhounds’ game versus Holy Cross on Wednesday was suspended due to weather. Naugy will host against Seymour on Friday at 4 p.m. and Oxford on Saturday at 11 a.m.